COVID-19: Lab Results considered ‘reassuring for front-line healthcare workers’

Analysis of lab results from NHS staff tested for COVID-19 offers a level of reassurance to front-line clinical workers, according to researchers.

Newcastle University researchers studied the results of 1,000 tests carried out on staff during March.

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They found the number of front-line clinical workers testing positive was no different to that of staff working in non-clinical roles.

This is “reassuring for front-line healthcare workers and suggests that PPE is effective”, they say.

During the study, which has been published in The Lencet, staff were offered tests. Local GPs and paramedics were also eligible.

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The staff fell into three groups:

  • Group 1: those delivering care directly to patients (nurses, doctors, porters)
  • Group 2: staff who did not deliver care directly to patients, but may be at a higher risk (cleaners, lab staff)
  • Group 3: non-clinical staff (clerical, admin, IT)

They found no evidence of a significant difference between the three groups in rates of infection;

  • Group 1: 15%
  • Group 2: 16%
  • Group 3: 18%

Despite the risk to those delivering front line care being perceived as higher, this study shows that there is currently no evidence to support this.

The precautions taken by clinical staff on a day-to-day basis, in relation to infection control, are often embedded behaviours. This could be a major factor in mitigating the infection rate risk.