Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection of healthcare workers (HCWs) has been reported as a key player in the nosocomial spreading of COVID-19. Early detection of infected HCWs can prevent spreading of the virus in hospitals among HCWs and patients. We conducted a cross-sectional study to determine the asymptomatic infection of HCWs in a private clinic in the city of Santiago, Chile. Our study was conducted during a period of 5 weeks at the peak of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Chile. Nasopharyngeal samples were obtained from 413 HCWs and tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 using RT-qPCR. We found that a 3.14% of HCWs were positive for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 (14/413). Out of these, 7/14 were completely asymptomatic and did not develop symptoms within 3 weeks of testing. Sequencing of viral genomes showed the predominance of the GR clade; however, sequence comparison demonstrated numerous genetic differences among them suggesting community infection as the main focus of transmission among HCWs. Our study demonstrates that the protocols applied to protect HCWs and patients have been effective as no infection clusters due to asymptomatic carriers were found in the clinic. Together, these data suggest that infection with SARS-CoV-2 among HCWs of this health center is not nosocomial.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)