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In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, Egypt established a unique care model based on quarantine hospitals where only externally-referred confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted, and healthcare workers resided continuously over 1- to 2-week working shifts. Using a mathematical model accounting for the false-negative rates of RT-PCR tests, we computed the incidence rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCWs, while unveiling the proportion of infections remaining undiagnosed despite routine testing. We relied on longitudinal data, including results of routine RT-PCR tests, collected within three Egyptian quarantine hospitals. We estimated an incidence rate (per 100 person-day, PD) of 1.05 (95% CrI 0.58-1.65) at Hospital 1, 1.92 (95% CrI 0.93-3.28) at Hospital 2 and 7.62 (95% CrI 3.47-13.70) at Hospital 3. We found that the risk for an HCW to be infected during a working shift lay within the range of risk levels previously documented in standard healthcare settings for Hospitals 1-2, whereas it was > threefold higher for Hospital 3. This large variation suggests that HCWs from quarantine hospitals may face a high occupational risk of infection, but that, with sufficient infection control measures, this risk can be brought down to levels similar to those observed in standard healthcare settings.

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Journal article


Sci Rep

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Humans, COVID-19, Egypt, Health Personnel, Hospitals, Quarantine, SARS-CoV-2, Risk Assessment