Evaluation of Healthcare Professionals in Contact with Patients Diagnosed with COVID-19 Detected Outside of the Pandemic Service in our Hospital [Hastanemizde Pandemi Servisi Dışında Saptanan COVID-19 Tanısı Alan Hastalarla Temaslı Sağlık Çalışanlarının Değerlendirilmesi]
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The "Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19)" caused by "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)" is still active all over the world as a pandemia. It is reported that at least 7000 health care workers (HCW) had lost their lives due to COVID-19 from the beginning of the pandemia till September 2020 in the world. In our country between the dates, March 11, 2020 which the first case was reported, and September 1, 2020, the date which our study has been finalized, 7428 HCW were infected by SARS-CoV-2, and 52 of them were deceased. In this study, it was aimed to evaluate the contact and illness of healthcare workers working outside of the pandemic clinics in our hospital and to examine the possible transmission routes and disease prognoses. Healthcare workers who were working outside the pandemic service between March 11, 2020 and September 1, 2020 and who had a definite diagnosis of COVID-19 and all hospital staff who had contacted with these people, and HCW who had contact with patients diagnosed with COVID-19 while receiving inpatient treatment in services other than the pandemic service was evaluated and classified as low, medium and high risk according to the risk scoring defined in the published "Ministry of Health COVID-19 Guidelines". Healthcare workers who were evaluated as contacted were questioned in detail regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the time of contact, especially suitability of the masks, contact time and shape and all the data were recorded. A total of 53 index cases (40 HCW and 13 inpatients diagnosed as COVID-19) were detected during the study period. The number of HCW contacted with these index cases was 672. In our study, we examined the data of 40 index cases and 672 contacted HCW (total of 712 HCW). Only 3 of 40 index cases (7.5%) had hospital-acquired COVID-19 infection, the other 37 cases were infected by community sources. COVID-19 was not detected in 94.2% of the contacted HCW during the follow-up while 5.8% of them had positive PCR test results. Considering the possible way of contamination among the contacted HCW who developed COVID-19 during the follow-up period, it was determined that 13.1% of the cases were a result of taken care of patients, 86.9% of the cases were a result of being in hospital social environments (drinking tea, smoking, eating, chatting in the same room without personal precautions) and in the days after the contact, it was in the form of contact with healthcare personnel diagnosed with COVID-19. When the contacted HCW were questioned about using proper masks at the time of contact, we determined that 93.3% of them used masks during patient caring procedures, however, only 48.9% used masks when they were in social areas (p<0.001). Healthcare workers face an unprecedented risk of occupational disease and death due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is also observed that prolonged pandemia period caused health workers to disregard rigorous infection control precautions in social areas of hospitals which they follow inpatient care although this has shown to be the most common way of contamination. Commonly performed in-service training and causing awareness in all areas of the hospital about following infection control precautions and PPE usage and checking the process regularly are the most important ways to prevent HCW from being affected by COVID-19.