A test-based strategy for early return to work for health-care workers with COVID-19 during the Omicron wave, Brunei Darussalam, 2022

Authors

  • Alice Lai Occupational Health Division, Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam; Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam
  • Ashish Trivedi Occupational Health Division, Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5365/wpsar.2024.15.1.1051

Keywords:

healthcare workers, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, return to work, Brunei

Abstract

Objective: This paper summarizes and evaluates a test-based strategy for early return to work for health-care workers (HCWs) with mild coronavirus disease in Brunei Darussalam during the Omicron wave in February 2022 and compares the characteristics of HCWs by how long it took them to return to work.

Methods: The early return-to-work strategy involved testing on day 3 of infection with reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and with a rapid antigen test on days 5 and 6 or days 5 and 7. Data about infected HCWs were extracted from the Ministry of Health’s public health surveillance database. Percentages and proportions were used for descriptive statistics, and Pearson’s chi-squared test and the paired t-test were used to compare return-to-work patterns with demographic factors and vaccination status of the HCWs, as well as between cycle threshold (Ct) values and occupational groups of HCWs.

Results: From 15 February to 15 March 2022, a total of 1121 HCWs were notified as being infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Of these, 175 (15.6%) were able to return to work on day 4 of their infection, 153 (13.6%) on day 6 and 268 (23.9%) on day 7; 525 (46.8%) required 10 days of home isolation. Statistically significant associations were observed between return-to-work periods and occupational group (P < 0.01) and Ct value (P < 0.01), but not between return to work and age, sex or vaccination status.

Discussion: This test-based strategy ensured a balance between mitigating a shortage of HCWs and enabling them to return to work early without compromising their safety and that of their patients.

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Published

06-02-2024

How to Cite

1.
Lai A, Trivedi A. A test-based strategy for early return to work for health-care workers with COVID-19 during the Omicron wave, Brunei Darussalam, 2022. Western Pac Surveill Response J [Internet]. 2024 Feb. 6 [cited 2024 Feb. 28];15(1):7. Available from: https://ojs.wpro.who.int/ojs/index.php/wpsar/article/view/1051

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Original Research

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