The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has placed unprecedented strain on health-care services worldwide. Centro de Terapia Oncológica (CTO) is a Oncology clinic in Petrópolis, countryside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This discussion aims to appoint the necessity of mass testing of both symptomatic and asymptomatic health-care workers (HCWs), in order to avoid workforce unnecessary quarantine, reduce spread in asymptomatic or mild cases and protect the health of HCWs and patients.
Between 09 and 29 April of 2020, 60 CTO HCWs were tested for COVID-19. They were all tested through IgM/IgG rapid testing by near-patient lateral flow devices, while nasopharyngeal swabs and reverse transcriptase polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) for SARS-CoV-2 were added as a secondary investigational method amongst symptomatic HCWs. In total, 62 tests were done: 61 IgM/IgG tests were done and 1 nasopharyngeal swab for RT-PCR testing.
A total of 4 HCW tested positive among 62 tests. They were all immediately quarantined for 14 days and represent 6,6% of the service’s total workforce. Out of the 4 positive cases, 2 were female, with 60 years or more, and the remaining 2 were men aged between 30 and 42 years; 3 of these HCW were asymptomatic and only 1 had symptoms of the disease. Results illustrated in the table.
Wide availability of testing for antibodies and the universal testing of HCW would be a game changer as it: reduces in-hospital transmission; reduces a potential source of asymptomatic ongoing transmission during a period of social distancing; promotes the wellbeing of HCW ensuring that infected colleagues are promptly tested and isolated; enables the service to isolate those who require it, avoiding being short-staffed due to self-isolation or widespread contamination of the HCW. Unfortunately, mass testing is still not a palpable reality for most healthcare services in Brazil, especially in the public health sector, mainly due to financial reasons.
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All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.
© 2020 European Society for Medical Oncology. Published by Elsevier Inc.