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Prevalence and clinical profile of SARS-CoV-2 infection among farmworkers in Monterey County, California: June-November, 2020

By Joseph A Lewnard, Ana M. Mora, Oguchi Nkwocha, Katherine Kogut, Stephen A. Rauch, Norma Morga, Samantha Hernandez, Marcus P. Wong, Karen Huen, Kristin Andrejko, Nicholas P. Jewell, Kimberly L. Parra, Nina Holland, Eva Harris, Maximiliano Cuevas, Brenda Eskenazi, on behalf of the CHAMACOS-Project-19 Study Team

Posted 02 Jan 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.27.20248894

As essential personnel, United States farmworkers have continued working in-person throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We undertook prospective surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 infection and antibody prevalence among farmworkers in Californias Salinas Valley from 15 June to 30 November, 2020. Over this period, we observed 22.1% (1514/6864) positivity for current SARS-CoV-2 by nucleic acid detection among farmworkers tested at federally-qualified migrant and community health clinics, as compared to 17.2% (1255/7305) among other adults from the same communities (risk ratio, 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.20-1.37). In a nested study enrolling 1,115 farmworkers, prevalence of current infection was 27.7% among farmworkers reporting [≥]1 potential COVID-19 symptom, and 7.2% among farmworkers without symptoms (adjusted odds ratio 4.17; 2.86-6.09). Prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies increased from 10.5% (6.0-18.4%) between 16 July-31 August to 21.2% (16.6-27.4%) between 1-30 November. The high observed prevalence of infection among farmworkers underscores the need for vaccination and other preventive interventions.

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