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Many COVID-Contaminated Hospital Employees Asymptomatic

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TUESDAY, Sept. 1, 2020 (HealthDay Information) — A brand new examine of 13 U.S. medical facilities finds that 6% of employees examined constructive for prior an infection with the new coronavirus, with nearly half (44%) having no concept they’d ever contracted SARS-CoV-2.

Within the examine, blood antibody testing of greater than 3,200 medical doctors, nurses and different hospital employees was carried out between early April and mid-June. About 1 in 16 of the assessments got here up constructive, researchers discovered, and 29% of these constructive outcomes arose in individuals who mentioned they’d had no signs suggestive of COVID-19.

An infection charges amongst employees additionally various broadly between hospitals, starting from simply 0.8% at one heart to greater than 31% at one other. In line with the examine writer, that doubtless displays the extent of coronavirus circulating within the metropolis every hospital served.

One factor was clear, nevertheless: Use of masks, robes, gloves and different protecting gear by employees stored an infection charges down. And when hospitals confronted shortages of non-public protecting gear (PPE), COVID-19 infections rose.

“The next share of individuals who reported a PPE scarcity had detectable SARS-CoV-2 antibodies [9%] than did those that didn’t report a PPE scarcity [6%],” reported researchers led by Dr. Wesley Self of Vanderbilt College Medical Middle in Nashville, Tenn. About 12% of the employees interviewed within the examine mentioned they’d already encountered some type of PPE scarcity at their medical heart.

One emergency doctor engaged on the frontlines of the pandemic agreed that prevention is essential.

“Having an ample provide of PPE is significant so as to mitigate the elevated danger that each one well being care employees face on the frontlines,” defined Dr. Robert Glatter, who practices at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York Metropolis.

“This represents one of many main ongoing challenges that has confronted hospitals and medical facilities because the pandemic continues,” he mentioned.

Frequent testing of frontline well being care employees can also be essential to curbing outbreaks early on as a result of “a excessive proportion of personnel with antibodies didn’t suspect that they’d been beforehand contaminated,” Self’s group mentioned.

“What’s necessary is that well being care employees do not turn out to be a reservoir for asymptomatic unfold of an infection inside the hospital setting or locally,” Glatter mentioned. “Because of this, we should spend money on frequent testing of such important employees.”

The brand new examine was printed Aug. 31 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a journal of the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

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