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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Provider Antibody Serology Study of Virus in the Emergency Room (PASSOVER) Study: Special Population COVID-19 Seroprevalence

  • Author(s): Heyming, Theodore W.
  • Sanger, Terence
  • Tongol, Aprille
  • Schomberg, John
  • Bacon, Kellie
  • Lara, Bryan
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Introduction: Limited data on the seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) among healthcare workers (HCW) are publicly available. In this study we sought to determine the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in a population of HCWs in a pediatric emergency department (ED).

Methods: We conducted this observational cohort study from April 14–May 13, 2020 in a pediatric ED in Orange County, CA. Asymptomatic HCW ≥18 years of age were included in the study. Blood samples were obtained by fingerstick at the start of each shift. The inter-sampling interval was ≤96 hours. The primary outcome was positive seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 as determined with an antibody fast detection kit (Colloidal Gold, Superbio, Timisoara, Romania) for the SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin M/immunoglobulin G (IgM/IgG) antibody.

Results: A total of 143 HCWs participated in the study. Overall SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was 10.5% (n = 15). Positive seroprevalence was classified as IgG only (4.9%), IgM+IgG (3.5%), or IgM only (2.1%). SARS-CoV-2 was detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction RT-PCR in 0.7% of the overall study population (n = 1). Samples obtained on Day 1 indicated seropositivity in 4.2% of the study population (n = 6). Subsequent seroconversion occurred in 6.3% of participants (n = 9). The rate of seroconversion was linear with a rate of approximately one new case every two days, starting at Day 9 of the study.

Conclusion: We observed a linear rate of seroconversion to SARS-CoV-2–positive status among asymptomatic HCWs who underwent daily symptom surveys and temperature screens in an environment with universal source control. Rapid antibody testing may be useful for screening for SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity in high-risk populations, such as HCWs in the ED.

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