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      Contact Screening for Healthcare Workers Exposed to Patients with COVID-19

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          Abstract

          In China and Italy, many cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have occurred among healthcare workers (HCWs). Prompt identification, isolation and contact tracing of COVID-19 cases are key elements in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to evaluate the rate of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among HCWs exposed to patients with COVID-19 in relation to the main determinants of exposure. To assess the risk of exposure, we performed active symptom monitoring in 1006 HCWs identified as contacts of COVID19 cases. The presence of symptoms was statistically associated with a positive nasopharyngeal swab result. Only one subject was asymptomatic at the time of positive test. These data suggest that clinical history may help in the selection of subjects to be investigated by means of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in the case of a shortage of diagnostic resources. We found that close contact (within 2 m for 15 min or more) was not statistically related to contagion. Regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), only the use of facial masks was inversely related to the chance of becoming infected ( p < 0.01). In conclusion, our data show that unprotected contacts between HCWs should be considered a major route of HCW contagion, suggesting that the use of facial masks should be implemented even in settings where known patients with COVID-19 are not present.

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          Most cited references15

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          Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China

          In December 2019, novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-infected pneumonia (NCIP) occurred in Wuhan, China. The number of cases has increased rapidly but information on the clinical characteristics of affected patients is limited.
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            Temporal dynamics in viral shedding and transmissibility of COVID-19

            We report temporal patterns of viral shedding in 94 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and modeled COVID-19 infectiousness profiles from a separate sample of 77 infector-infectee transmission pairs. We observed the highest viral load in throat swabs at the time of symptom onset, and inferred that infectiousness peaked on or before symptom onset. We estimated that 44% (95% confidence interval, 25-69%) of secondary cases were infected during the index cases' presymptomatic stage, in settings with substantial household clustering, active case finding and quarantine outside the home. Disease control measures should be adjusted to account for probable substantial presymptomatic transmission.
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              Feasibility of controlling COVID-19 outbreaks by isolation of cases and contacts

              Summary Background Isolation of cases and contact tracing is used to control outbreaks of infectious diseases, and has been used for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Whether this strategy will achieve control depends on characteristics of both the pathogen and the response. Here we use a mathematical model to assess if isolation and contact tracing are able to control onwards transmission from imported cases of COVID-19. Methods We developed a stochastic transmission model, parameterised to the COVID-19 outbreak. We used the model to quantify the potential effectiveness of contact tracing and isolation of cases at controlling a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-like pathogen. We considered scenarios that varied in the number of initial cases, the basic reproduction number (R 0), the delay from symptom onset to isolation, the probability that contacts were traced, the proportion of transmission that occurred before symptom onset, and the proportion of subclinical infections. We assumed isolation prevented all further transmission in the model. Outbreaks were deemed controlled if transmission ended within 12 weeks or before 5000 cases in total. We measured the success of controlling outbreaks using isolation and contact tracing, and quantified the weekly maximum number of cases traced to measure feasibility of public health effort. Findings Simulated outbreaks starting with five initial cases, an R 0 of 1·5, and 0% transmission before symptom onset could be controlled even with low contact tracing probability; however, the probability of controlling an outbreak decreased with the number of initial cases, when R 0 was 2·5 or 3·5 and with more transmission before symptom onset. Across different initial numbers of cases, the majority of scenarios with an R 0 of 1·5 were controllable with less than 50% of contacts successfully traced. To control the majority of outbreaks, for R 0 of 2·5 more than 70% of contacts had to be traced, and for an R 0 of 3·5 more than 90% of contacts had to be traced. The delay between symptom onset and isolation had the largest role in determining whether an outbreak was controllable when R 0 was 1·5. For R 0 values of 2·5 or 3·5, if there were 40 initial cases, contact tracing and isolation were only potentially feasible when less than 1% of transmission occurred before symptom onset. Interpretation In most scenarios, highly effective contact tracing and case isolation is enough to control a new outbreak of COVID-19 within 3 months. The probability of control decreases with long delays from symptom onset to isolation, fewer cases ascertained by contact tracing, and increasing transmission before symptoms. This model can be modified to reflect updated transmission characteristics and more specific definitions of outbreak control to assess the potential success of local response efforts. Funding Wellcome Trust, Global Challenges Research Fund, and Health Data Research UK.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                05 December 2020
                December 2020
                : 17
                : 23
                : 9082
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Rome, Italy; giuseppina.somma@ 123456ptvonline.it (G.S.); pietroiu@ 123456uniroma2.it (A.P.)
                [2 ]School of Occupational Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Rome, Italy; ippoliti.lo@ 123456libero.it (L.I.); cristianaferrari.md@ 123456gmail.com (C.F.); iacopodalessandro@ 123456libero.it (I.D.)
                [3 ]Department of Medicine and Health Sciences “V. Tiberio”, University of Molise, 86100 Campobasso, Italy; marco.trabuccoaurilio@ 123456unimol.it
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: lcoppeta@ 123456gmail.com
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2470-6107
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2292-3338
                Article
                ijerph-17-09082
                10.3390/ijerph17239082
                7730521
                33291364
                83fe7d04-50f2-4a9e-a3a6-3e62643a7f7b
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                History
                : 30 October 2020
                : 01 December 2020
                Categories
                Article

                Public health
                sars-cov-2,covid-19,contact screening,hcws
                Public health
                sars-cov-2, covid-19, contact screening, hcws

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