Comparison of COVID-19 Infection in Operating Room Staff During Two COVID-19 Waves Using Different Preventive Strategies in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Pakistan

Samie Asghar Dogar, Tahir Munir, Ausaf Ahmed Khan, Saad Ilyas, Mohsin Nazir Butt, Asad Latif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess if limiting elective surgeries during specific pandemic phases significantly affected COVID-19 incidence among operating room (OR) staff. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. Place and Duration of the Study: Operation Theatre (OT), The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan, from May 2020 to 2021. METHODOLOGY: This retrospective study compared two pandemic waves: Wave 1, during which elective surgeries were restricted (REL), and Wave 2, during which elective surgeries were continued routinely (EL). Exposure levels were measured based on OR activity. Incidence rates were calculated per 100 OR staff, per 100 ORs, and per 100 surgeries for both Groups. RESULTS: No statistically significant difference emerged in COVID-19 incidence among OR staff between REL (13.8 per 100 staff) and EL (14.4 per 100 staff) Groups (p = 0.825). However, the EL Group exhibited a significantly lower incidence risk per running OR (5.6 per 100 ORs vs. REL's 12 per 100 ORs, p <0.001). Additionally, the EL Group showed a lower incidence per 100 surgeries (1.5 vs. REL's 2.9, p <0.002). CONCLUSION: Restricting elective surgeries during the early pandemic phase did not significantly reduce COVID-19 incidence among OR staff. Infections were primarily linked to interactions with colleagues and the community, emphasising the need for a balanced pandemic response considering patient care and the consequences of surgery restrictions. KEY WORDS: COVID-19 infection, Operating room staff, COVID-19 waves, COVID-19 transmission, Hospital epidemiology, Pandemic response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-701
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons--Pakistan : JCPSP
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

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