Seropositivity of COVID-19 among asymptomatic healthcare workers: A multi-site prospective cohort study from Northern Virginia, United States

Abdulla A. Damluji*, Siqi Wei, Scott A. Bruce, Amanda Haymond, Emanuel F. Petricoin, Lance Liotta, G. Larry Maxwell, Brian C. Moore, Rachel Bell, Stephanie Garofalo, Eric R. Houpt, David Trump, Christopher R. deFilippi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Because of their direct patient contact, healthcare workers (HCW) face an unprecedented risk of exposure to COVID-19. The aim of this study was to examine incidence of COVID-19 disease among asymptomatic HCW and community participants in Northern Virginia during 6 months of follow-up. Methods: This is a prospective cohort study that enrolled healthy HCW and residents who never had a symptomatic COVID-19 infection prior to enrolment from the community in Northern Virginia from April to November 2020. All participants were invited to enrol in study, and they were followed at 2-, and 6-months intervals. Participants were evaluated by commercial chemiluminescence SARS-CoV-2 serology assays as part of regional health system and public health surveillance program to monitor the spread of COVID-19 disease. Findings: Of a total of 1,819 asymptomatic HCW enrolled, 1,473 (96%) had data at two-months interval, and 1,323 (73%) participants had data at 6-months interval. At baseline, 21 (1.15%) were found to have prior COVID-19 exposure. At two-months interval, COVID-19 rate was 2.8% and at six months follow-up, the overall incidence rate increased to 4.8%, but was as high as 7.9% among those who belong to the youngest age group (20–29 years). Seroconversion rates in HCW were comparable to the seropositive rates in the Northern Virginia community. The overall incidence of COVID-19 in the community was 4.5%, but the estimate was higher among Hispanic ethnicity (incidence rate = 15.3%) potentially reflecting different socio-economic factors among the community participants and the HCW group. Using cross-sectional logistic regression and spatio-temporal mixed effects models, significant factors that influence the transmission rate among HCW include age, race/ethnicity, resident ZIP-code, and household exposure, but not direct patient contact. Interpretation: In Northern Virginia, the seropositive rate of COVID-19 disease among HCW was comparable to that in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100030
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Americas
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Immunity
  • Serologic test


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