A study by NHS staff tested for coronavirus reassures front-line workers, the researchers say.
A team from the University of Newcastle analyzed the results of 1,000 tests carried out on local hospital workers in March.
They found that the number of front-line workers who tested positive was no different from the number of staff working in non-clinical roles.
It is “reassuring to frontline health workers and suggests that PPE works,” they say.
In the study, published in a letter to The Lancet, staff at two Newcastle hospitals were offered tests, the results of which were released in two days. Local general and paramedical doctors were also eligible.
The staff is divided into three groups:
- those who deal directly with patients (nurses, doctors, porters)
- staff who have not seen patients but who may be at higher risk of infection in the hospital (cleaners, laboratory staff)
- non-clinical staff (clerk, administrative, IT)
The researchers found no evidence of a significant difference between the three groups, with infection rates of 15% in the first group, 16% in the second and 18% in the third.
The data also provide insight into the growth of the epidemic in England, with signs of “flattening” after the introduction of social distancing measures.
“We have had a glimpse of the epidemiology of the Covid pandemic in England,” said Dr. Duncan.
“And we have evidence, although it is not direct evidence, that the social distancing measures introduced by the government have an impact on the spread of the coronavirus in England. “