June 13, 2022

HCW COVID-19 exposures linked to lapses in eye protection

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

In this study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, find that the use of eye protection by health care workers (HCWs) is important in preventing patient-to-HCW transmission of COVID-19.

Of 345 HCWs who had a significant occupational exposure to patients with COVID-19, nurses accounted for 55.8%, and most occurred in the hospital setting. Only a third of exposures occurred in COVID-19 units.

In COVID-19 units, the risk of exposure was more often attributed to lack of respirator use during aerosol-generating procedures. In non-COVID-19 units, the risk of exposure was more often attributed to lapses in appropriate eye protection.

Overall, a lack of eye protection correlated significantly with transmission of COVID-19.

The findings support the use of eye protection by all HCWs, including those in units that do not typically care for patients with COVID-19, the researchers say. Appropriate use of PPE remains a critical mitigation strategy to decrease the transmission of COVID-19 to HCWs.

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