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Jacob JT, Baker JM, Fridkin SK, et al. Risk Factors Associated With SARS-CoV-2 Seropositivity Among US Health Care Personnel. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(3):e211283. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.1283
What risk factors are associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seropositivity among health care personnel (HCP) inside and outside the workplace?
In this cross-sectional study of 24 749 HCP in 3 US states, contact with an individual with known coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exposure outside the workplace was the strongest risk factor associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity, along with living in a zip code with higher COVID-19 incidence. None of the assessed workplace factors were associated with seropositivity.
In this study, most risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCP were outside the workplace, suggesting that current infection prevention strategies in health care are effective in preventing patient-to-HCP transmission in the workplace.
Risks for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among health care personnel (HCP) are unclear.
To evaluate the risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity among HCP with the a priori hypothesis that community exposure but not health care exposure was associated with seropositivity.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This cross-sectional study was conducted among volunteer HCP at 4 large health care systems in 3 US states. Sites shared deidentified data sets, including previously collected serology results, questionnaire results on community and workplace exposures at the time of serology, and 3-digit residential zip code prefix of HCP. Site-specific responses were mapped to a common metadata set. Residential weekly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cumulative incidence was calculated from state-based COVID-19 case and census data.
Model variables included demographic (age, race, sex, ethnicity), community (known COVID-19 contact, COVID-19 cumulative incidence by 3-digit zip code prefix), and health care (workplace, job role, COVID-19 patient contact) factors.
Main Outcome and Measures
The main outcome was SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. Risk factors for seropositivity were estimated using a mixed-effects logistic regression model with a random intercept to account for clustering by site.
Among 24 749 HCP, most were younger than 50 years (17 233 [69.6%]), were women (19 361 [78.2%]), were White individuals (15 157 [61.2%]), and reported workplace contact with patients with COVID-19 (12 413 [50.2%]). Many HCP worked in the inpatient setting (8893 [35.9%]) and were nurses (7830 [31.6%]). Cumulative incidence of COVID-19 per 10 000 in the community up to 1 week prior to serology testing ranged from 8.2 to 275.6; 20 072 HCP (81.1%) reported no COVID-19 contact in the community. Seropositivity was 4.4% (95% CI, 4.1%-4.6%; 1080 HCP) overall. In multivariable analysis, community COVID-19 contact and community COVID-19 cumulative incidence were associated with seropositivity (community contact: adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 3.5; 95% CI, 2.9-4.1; community cumulative incidence: aOR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.3-2.6). No assessed workplace factors were associated with seropositivity, including nurse job role (aOR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.9-1.3), working in the emergency department (aOR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.8-1.3), or workplace contact with patients with COVID-19 (aOR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.9-1.3).
Conclusions and Relevance
In this cross-sectional study of US HCP in 3 states, community exposures were associated with seropositivity to SARS-CoV-2, but workplace factors, including workplace role, environment, or contact with patients with known COVID-19, were not. These findings provide reassurance that current infection prevention practices in diverse health care settings are effective in preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from patients to HCP.
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