Viral whole-genome sequencing to assess impact of universal masking on SARS-CoV-2 transmission among pediatric healthcare workers

Larry K. Kociolek*, Ami Bhagvan Patel, Judd F. Hultquist, Egon A. Ozer, Lacy M. Simons, Matthew McHugh, William J Muller, Ramon Lorenzo-Redondo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To identify the impact of universal masking on COVID-19 incidence and putative SARS-CoV-2 transmissions events among children's hospital healthcare workers (HCWs). Design: Quasi-experimental study. Setting: Single academic free-standing children's hospital. Methods: We performed whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2- PCR-positive samples collected from HCWs 3 weeks before and 6 weeks after implementing a universal masking policy. Phylogenetic analyses were performed to identify clusters of clonally related SARS-CoV-2 indicative of putative transmission events. We measured COVID-19 incidence, SARS-CoV-2 test positivity rates, and frequency of putative transmission events before and after the masking policy was implemented. Results: HCW COVID-19 incidence and test positivity declined from 14.3 to 4.3 cases per week, and from 18.4% to 9.0%, respectively. Putative transmission events were only identified prior to universal masking. Conclusions: A universal masking policy was associated with reductions in HCW COVID-19 infections and occupational acquisition of SARS-CoV-2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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