UK – COVID-19 screening of healthcare workers in a London maternity hospital

Lancet, by Asma Khalil, Robert Hill, Shamez Ladhani, Katherine Pattisson, Pat O’Brien, 18 May 2020

There have been increasing calls for universal screening of health-care workers for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We have been screening health-care workers at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children (London, UK) since March 17, 2020. By April 16, 2020, we had tested nasopharyngeal swabs taken from 266 staff members (>50% of the workforce) using SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR, and 47 (18%) were found to be positive. Of these positive cases, 31 (66%) were symptomatic and 16 (34%) were asymptomatic (figure). Overall, 28 (48%) staff members remained positive at 7 days after the initial test was taken, 16 (34%) at 10 days, and four (9%) at 14 days, with one health-care worker remaining positive until 26 days. Of 25 symptomatic staff members who initially tested negative and were retested, only one (4%) became positive after 7 days. Potential factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 positivity are summarised in the figure.