Clinical Factors, Preventive Behaviours and Temporal Outcomes Associated with COVID-19 Infection in Health Professionals at a Spanish Hospital

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 16;17(12):4305. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17124305.


The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has quickly spread around the world, with Spain being one of the most severely affected countries. Healthcare professionals are an important risk group given their exposure. The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of symptoms, main concerns as patients, preventive behaviours of healthcare professionals, and the different temporal outcomes associated with the negativization of PCR results. A total of 238 professionals were analysed and follow-up was conducted from 11 March to 21 April 2020 through clinical records, in-depth surveys, and telephone interviews. Symptoms, concerns, and preventive measures were documented, and temporal outcomes (start and end of symptoms, first positive PCR, and negativization of PCR) were analysed through survival analyses. A high prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms (especially in women and older professionals), fever, cough, and fatigue were reported. The main concern was contagion in the work and home environment. Professionals (especially men) reported low use of face masks before the pandemic. Our analysis indicates that the median times for the negativization of PCR testing to confirm the resolution of infection is 15 days after the end of symptoms, or 25 days after the first positive PCR test. Our results suggest that these times are longer for women and for professionals aged ≥55 years, therefore follow-up strategies should be optimized in light of both variables. This is the first study we are aware of to report factors associated with the time to negativization of PCR results. We present the first rigorous estimates of time outcomes and hope that these data can be valuable to continue feeding the prediction models that are currently being developed. Similar studies are required to corroborate our results.

Keywords: COVID; PCR; SARS-CoV-2; follow-up; healthcare; negativization; professionals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spain