COVID-19 in Malaysia: exposure assessment and prevention practices among healthcare workers at a teaching hospital
Keywords:COVID-19, healthcare workers, teaching hospital, Infection control, SARS-CoV-2, exposure assessment
Introduction: During the second wave of the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, Malaysia reported several COVID-19 clusters related to healthcare workers. Thus, addressing and understanding the risk of exposure in healthcare workers is important to prevent future infection and reduce secondary COVID-19 transmission within the healthcare settings. In this study, we aim to assess exposure and prevention practices against COVID-19 among healthcare workers at the Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz, a university teaching hospital based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Methodology: A total of 571 healthcare workers at COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 wards as well as the emergency department and laboratory staff at COVID-19 testing labs were recruited. The presence of novel human coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and IgM/IgG antibodies were confirmed in all healthcare workers. The healthcare workers responded to an online Google Forms questionnaire that evaluates demographic information and comorbidities, exposure and adherence to infection prevention and control measures against COVID-19. Descriptive analysis was performed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 24.0.
Results: Three healthcare workers (0.5%) tested positive for SAR-CoV-2, while the remaining 568 (99.5%) were negative. All were negative for IgM and IgG antibodies during recruitment (day 1) and follow-up (day 15). More than 90% of the healthcare workers followed infection prevention and control practices recommendations regardless of whether they have been exposed to occupational risk for COVID-19.
Conclusions: The healthcare workers’ high level of adherence to infection prevention practices at this hospital helped reduce and minimize their occupational exposure to COVID-19.
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