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Oncology Staff Have High SARS-CoV-2 Seropositivity

Second study shows many U.K. oncology staff report poor well-being and burnout

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THURSDAY, Nov. 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Oncology staff, especially nurses, have high severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) seropositivity, which decreases over time, and many U.K. oncology staff report poor well-being and burnout, according to two studies presented at the NCRI Virtual Showcase, held from Nov. 2 to 3.

David Favara, M.D., from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues recruited 434 patient-facing oncology staff working during the COVID-19 pandemic to examine the value of routinely testing staff. The researchers found that all participants were polymerase chain reaction-negative on study days 1 and 28 in June and July 2020. On day 1, 18.4 percent were SARS-CoV-2-seropositive by Luminex-based assay. Higher prevalence trends of Luminex seropositivity were seen for nurses and doctors compared with administrators and radiographers (21.3 and 17.4 percent, respectively, versus 13.6 and 8.9 percent, respectively). Of the 400 participants retested on day 28, 13.3 percent were Luminex seropositive, 92.5 percent of whom were previously positive. Among staff groups, the highest seroprevalence trend was seen among nurses.

Susana Banerjee, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London, and colleagues examined factors influencing well-being during COVID-19. Responses were included from 1,063 U.K. oncology workforce participants. The researchers found that 81 percent of staff members working with patients reported having patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Overall, 42 percent had a WHO-5 score <50, indicating poor well-being, while 34 percent reported a score of ≥3, indicating burnout.

"These studies give us some important insights into levels of infection among oncology staff during the spring peak of COVID-19 and how staff were managing during that time," Iain Frame, the chief executive of NCRI, said in a statement.

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