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This study was performed at Mass General Brigham health system and looked at the association between instituting universal surgical masking precautions for healthcare workers and patients and the incidence of healthcare workers testing positive for COVID-19. The authors found that, during the pre-intervention time period, incidence of positive tests increased significantly while this metric decreased linearly during the intervention period.
This study found that implementation of guidelines enforcing all patients and healthcare workers to wear surgical masks was associated with reduced incidence of positive COVID-19 testing among healthcare workers. While this may reflect reduced transmission among healthcare workers or between healthcare workers and patients, the results were likely confounded by other interventions and COVID-19 epidemiology generally.
– Amy Korwin, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has severely affected health care workers (HCWs).1 As a result, hospital systems began testing HCWs2 and implementing infection control measures to mitigate workforce depletion and prevent disease spread.3 Mass General Brigham (MGB) is the largest health care system in Massachusetts, with 12 hospitals and more than 75 000 employees. In March 2020, MGB implemented a multipronged infection reduction strategy involving systematic testing of symptomatic HCWs and universal masking of all HCWs and patients with surgical masks.4 This study assessed the association of hospital masking policies with the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among HCWs.