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A multicentre study on quarantined healthcare workers during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons learned in a resource limited setting

Authors:

D. Govindapala ,

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Rathmalana, LK
About D.
Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
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D. Nakkawita,

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Rathmalana, LK
About D.
Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
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H. Jayasena,

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Rathmalana, LK
About H.
Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
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P. Jayasekara,

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Rathmalana, LK
About P.
Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
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V. Navaratne,

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Rathmalana, LK
About V.
Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
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H. Abeygoonawardena,

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Rathmalana, LK
About H.
Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
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P. Kawyangana,

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Rathmalana, LK
About P.
Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
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A. Gamage,

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Rathmalana, LK
About A.
Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
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A. D. De Silva

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Rathmalana, LK
About A. D.
Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction: Facing a pandemic is quite challenging for resource-poor healthcare settings. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, healthcare workers (HCWs) had to work with insufficient skills, knowledge and experience regarding the novel coronavirus, which increased their risk of infection.

 

Methods: This study aimed to determine the personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, exposure characteristics, clinical outcomes and seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among a group of quarantined HCWs in seven hospitals in the Western province of Sri Lanka, during the first wave of the pandemic. Data were collected using an intervieweradministered questionnaire and a serum sample was collected at six weeks of exposure to detect SARSCoV- 2 specific IgG antibodies. Both descriptive statistics and chi square test were performed to identify distribution patterns and associations.

 

Results: Of 167 quarantined HCWs, 89(53.3%) had high-risk exposures, while 78 (46.4%) reported lowrisk exposures. Eighty-four HCWs have been exposed when interacting with the patient’s environment and 90.5% of them were not using recommended PPE. None of the HCWs wore N95 or higher respirators when performing aerosolgenerating procedures. SARS-COV-2 RT-PCR assay was performed only on 117 (70.1%) HCWs, with 49.6% of them being subjected to the test after 14days of exposure. SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG antibodies were detected in 31(18.6%) HCWs. A high seroprevalence was observed among HCWs over 40 years (n=13, 29.5%) (P=0.029).

 

Conclusions: This study illustrated an imperfect adherence to PPE recommendations and high transmission of COVID-19 amongst HCWs. The observed inappropriate use of RT-PCR assay and unwarranted quarantining of HCWs in a limited resource setting is concerning.

How to Cite: Govindapala, D., Nakkawita, D., Jayasena, H., Jayasekara, P., Navaratne, V., Abeygoonawardena, H., Kawyangana, P., Gamage, A. and De Silva, A.D., 2022. A multicentre study on quarantined healthcare workers during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons learned in a resource limited setting. Journal of the Ceylon College of Physicians, 53(1), pp.26–34. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jccp.v53i1.7948
Published on 23 Jun 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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