World News – CA – Grocery store workers at increased risk of asymptomatic Covid-19 infections: study


Employees in grocery stores are likely to be at increased risk of infection with Covid-19, those in customer-facing positions 5 times more likely to test positive as their colleagues in other posts, suggests the first study of its kind

Additionally, among those who tested positive, three in four had no symptoms, suggesting that these key workers could be a significant reservoir of infection, researchers say

Published research focused on essential / key workers has largely focused on healthcare workers To try to fill this knowledge gap and find out how Covid-19 has affected the health and well-being of other workers keys, researchers studied 104 employees of a grocery store in Boston, Massachusetts

Each employee was tested for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the Covid-19 infection, in May of this year as part of a mandatory testing policy in Boston

But before doing so, they filled out detailed questionnaires about their lifestyle; medical background; employment history; work habits and role in the store; getting to and from work; and the protective measures they may have taken against infection at work

They have also been asked to provide information on Covid-19, including symptoms and exposure to anyone with SARS-CoV-2 confirmed in the past 14 days Mental health information was gleaned from two validated questionnaires for depression and anxiety: PHQ-9 and GAD-7

One in five workers (21 of 104) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, indicating a prevalence of 20% at that time It was significantly higher than the prevalence of infection in the local community at the time: 09-13%

Three of the four people who tested positive (76%) had no symptoms And of those who tested positive, most (91%) had a role in relation to the client, compared to 59% of those who were tested negative

Workers in customer-facing positions were five times more likely to test positive than their colleagues in other types of roles, after accounting for potentially influencing factors, such as the prevalence of SARS- CoV-2 where they lived People in supervisory positions were six times more likely to do so

Ninety-nine employees completed the mental health questionnaires: 24 workers reported at least mild anxiety Only half (46%) of them said they were able to practice social distancing consistently at work, while most (76%) of those who weren’t anxious could do

Eight employees were rated as mildly depressed by their responses to the questionnaire They were less likely to routinely practice social distancing at work and more likely to commute to and from work on public transportation or shared commutes by compared to those who were not depressed

People who were able to get around on foot, by bicycle or in their own car were 90% less likely to report symptoms of depression

This is a small observational study of workers in a store in a city at one point in time, which relied on subjective reports and, as such, cannot establish the cause, highlights keep researchers

Nonetheless, they say: « This is the first study to demonstrate the significant asymptomatic infection rate, risks of exposure and associated psychological distress of essential grocery store workers during the pandemic. »

And they point out: « Once essential workers are infected with SARS-CoV-2, they can become an important source of transmission for the community they serve. »

They believe their findings support: « policy recommendations that employers and government officials should take action to implement preventive strategies and administrative arrangements, such as methods to reduce people-to-people contact, repeated and regular testing of employees for SARS-CoV-2, to ensure the health and safety of essential workers « 

And they add, « Our important finding on mental health calls for action to provide comprehensive employee assistance services to help critical workers cope with psychological distress during the Covid-19 pandemic » (ANI )

Coronavirus, cognitive impairment, cognition

News from the world – CA – Grocery store workers at increased risk of asymptomatic Covid-19 infections: study



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