COVID-19 in Health Care Personnel Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To identify significant factors that help predict whether health care personnel (HCP) will test positive for severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a prospective cohort study among 7015 symptomatic HCP from March 25, 2020, through November 11, 2020. We analyzed the associations between health care role, contact history, symptoms, and a positive nasopharyngeal swab SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test results, using univariate and multivariable modelling. RESULTS: Of the symptomatic HCP, 624 (8.9%) were positive over the study period. On multivariable analysis, having a health care role other than physician or advanced practice provider, contact with family or community member with known or suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and seven individual symptoms (cough, anosmia, ageusia, fever, myalgia, chills, and headache) were significantly associated with higher adjusted odds ratios for testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. For each increase in symptom number, the odds of testing positive nearly doubled (odds ratio, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.82 to 2.07, P<.001). CONCLUSION: Symptomatic HCP have higher adjusted odds of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 based on three distinct factors: (1) nonphysician/advanced practice provider role, (2) contact with a family or community member with suspected or known COVID-19, and (3) specific symptoms and symptom number. Differences among health care roles, which persisted after controlling for contacts, may reflect the influence of social determinants. Contacts with COVID-19-positive patients and/or HCP were not associated with higher odds of testing positive, supporting current infection control efforts. Targeted symptom and contact questionnaires may streamline symptomatic HCP testing for COVID-19.


  • Lepak, Alexander J
  • Buys, Ashley
  • Stevens, Linda
  • LeClair-Netzel, Megan
  • Anderson, Laura
  • Osman, Fauzia
  • Brennan, Meghan B
  • Bartels, Christie M
  • Safdar, Nasia

publication date

  • September 2021