Background: In this study, we assessed the prevalence of positive rapid detection test (RDT) among healthcare workers (HCWs) and evaluated the role of personal protective equipment (PPE) and knowledge of the pandemic.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study conducted between August 2020 and October 2020 in a tertiary referral center (Tehran, Iran), we enrolled 117 physicians, nurses, and other HCWs (OHCWs)—aides, helpers, and medical waste handlers—regularly working in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) wards. The RDT kit was utilized to reveal recent infection; data on demographics, PPE use and availability, and knowledge of the pandemic was collected through pre-defined questionnaires.
Results: Overall, 24.8% (95% CI: 16.8–32.7%) of HCWs had positive RDTs. The more PPE was available and used, the less the chance of positive RDT was (OR: 0.63 [0.44–0.91], P = 0.014 and 0.63 [0.41–0.96], P = 0.030). The same was true for the knowledge of prevention and adhering to preventive rules (OR: 0.44 [0.24–0.81], P = 0.008 and 0.47 [0.25–0.89], P = 0.020). OHCWs had the highest prevalence of positive RDT, while they had more shifts per month, less accessibility to PPE, and less knowledge of the pandemic than physicians.
Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that HCWs should have a thorough knowledge of the pandemic along with using PPE properly and rationally. Furthermore, adhering to preventive regulations plays a crucial role in HCWs’ safety. It is also noteworthy that shifts should be arranged logically to manage exposures, with a special attention being paid to OHCWs.