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Original article

Vol. 151 No. 3334 (2021)

Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare workers from outpatient facilities and retirement or nursing homes in a Swiss canton

  • Kathrin Zürcher 
  • Catrina Mugglin 
  • Franziska Suter-Riniker 
  • Peter M. Keller
  • Matthias Egger 
  • Sandro Müller 
  • Michael Fluri
  • Matthias Hoffmann 
  • Lukas Fenner
DOI
https://doi.org/10.4414/SMW.2021.w30021
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w30021
Published
20.08.2021

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers are more frequently exposed to SARS-CoV-2 than the general population. Little is known about healthcare settings outside of hospitals. We studied the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 among healthcare workers in outpatient facilities and retirement or nursing homes in the Canton of Solothurn, Switzerland in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS: Longitudinal seroprevalence study among healthcare workers with examinations at baseline and 2 months between June and September 2020. The Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG and Liaison/Diasorin SARS-CoV-2 S1/S2 IgG assay were used to detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. All participants provided demographic information. We report descriptive statistics and calculated the seroprevalence with 95% confidence intervals.

RESULTS: We included 357 healthcare workers; their median age was 43 years (interquartile range 29–54), and 315 (88.2%) were female. Forty-nine (13.7%) were physicians, 87 (24.4%) practice assistants and 221 (61.9%) nurses. Overall seroprevalence among healthcare workers in outpatient facilities and retirement or nursing homes was 3.4% (12/357). The 12 seropositive healthcare workers were all nurses (12/221, 5.5%); 11 worked at retirement or nursing homes and one at the hospital's outpatient clinic. Symptoms such as loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath, and fever were more prevalent among seropositive healthcare workers than seronegative healthcare workers. No close contact had detectable antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

CONCLUSIONS: Seroprevalence among healthcare workers was low, but higher among nursing staff of retirement or nursing homes. Healthcare workers at private practices were able to protect themselves well during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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