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Risk of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Among Coworkers in a Surgical Environment

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Publication Date



Adult, Aged, COVID-19, COVID-19 Testing, Female, Florida, Hand Hygiene, Health Personnel, Humans, Infection Control, Male, Middle Aged, Occupational Exposure, Operating Rooms, Personal Protective Equipment, Risk Factors, SARS-CoV-2



Health care workers are at high risk for contracting coronavirus disease 2019. However, little is known about the risk of transmission between coworkers. The objective of this study was to determine the risk of transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) between coworkers in a surgical environment. This was an observational study of 394 health care workers in a surgical environment who were exposed to 2 known SARS-CoV-2-positive coworkers. Standard infection precautions were in place at the time of the exposure. All 394 exposed workers initially underwent nasopharyngeal swab testing for SARS-CoV-2 using the polymerase chain reaction technique. Of the original group, 387 were tested again with the same technique 1 week later. Of 394 SARS-CoV-2-exposed health care workers initially tested, 1 was positive. No new positive cases were found on repeated testing of 387 participants 1 week later. The risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a health care unit with universal masking and appropriate hand hygiene is low. This finding should provide some reassurance to surgical practices as they reopen.


Article available for free at PubMed Central:

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Mayo Clinic Proceedings, v. 96, issue 1, p. 152-155