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Determining the source of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a healthcare worker

By Nasia Safdar, Gage Kahl Moreno, Katarina M Braun, Thomas C Friedrich, David H O'Connor

Posted 01 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.27.20077016

Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infection from their interactions with patients and in the community. Limited availability of recommended personal protective equipment (PPE), in particular N95 respirators, has fueled concerns about whether HCWs are adequately protected from exposure while caring for patients. Understanding the source of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a HCW - the community or the healthcare system - is critical for understanding the effectiveness of hospital infection control and PPE practices. In Dane County, Wisconsin, community prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 is relatively low (cumulative prevalence of ~0.06% - positive cases / total population in Dane county as of April 17). Although SARS-CoV-2 infections in HCWs are often presumed to be acquired during the course of patient care, there are few reports unambiguously identifying the source of acquisition. The objective of this brief report was to determine the source of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a healthcare worker.

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