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Community Exposures Tied to SARS-CoV-2 Seropositivity in HCWs

WEDNESDAY, March 31, 2021 -- Community exposures, but not workplace factors, are associated with seropositivity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) among health care personnel (HCP), according to a study published online March 10 in JAMA Network Open.

Jesse T. Jacob, M.D., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study among HCP at four large health care systems in three U.S. states to assess the risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. Data were included for 24,749 HCP; 50.2 percent reported workplace contact with patients with COVID-19.

The researchers found that the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 in the community up to one week prior to serology testing ranged from 8.2 to 275.6 per 10,000; 81.1 percent of the HCP reported no COVID-19 contact in the community. Overall, seropositivity was 4.4 percent. Community COVID-19 contact and community COVID-19 cumulative incidence were associated with seropositivity in a multivariable analysis (adjusted odds ratios, 3.5 and 1.8, respectively). None of the workplace factors assessed were associated with seropositivity, including nurse job role, working in the emergency department, or workplace contact with patients with COVID-19.

"These findings provide reassurance that current infection prevention practices in similar health care systems are effective and that the largest risks may be conferred from community-based exposures," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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