Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2020 Jul 23:1-8. doi: 10.1017/ice.2020.361. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Assess the amount of asymptomatic positivity for SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare workers (HCWs) caring for COVID-19 patients. Assess uptake in testing amongst exposed healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 positive patients.
DESIGN: Free, voluntary SARS-CoV-2 testing was made available to asymptomatic hospital staff caring for COVID-19 positive patients over a 2-week period.
SETTING: A 283-bed teaching hospital in an urban setting within Michigan.
PARTICIPANTS: The program was offered to asymptomatic patient facing hospital staff in areas deemed to be of the highest risk based on likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 cases.
METHODS: Volunteer participants were tested utilizing the Cepheid GeneXpert RT-PCR platform via nasopharyngeal swabs and results were made available within four hours of testing.
RESULTS: Of 499 eligible participants, 121 personnel volunteered to undergo testing. All 121 tests were negative for SARS-CoV-2.
CONCLUSIONS: Rigorous infection control practices, including universal patient testing, symptom screening of hospital workers, and cohorting of COVID-19 patients, are an effective method of preventing SARS-CoV-2 acquisition in healthcare workers routinely caring for COVID-19 positive patients. Successful implementation of these strategies may represent an effective alternative to routine and repeated testing of asymptomatic healthcare workers.