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Workplace contact patterns in England during the COVID-19 pandemic: Analysis of the Virus Watch prospective cohort study.
Beale, Sarah; Hoskins, Susan; Byrne, Thomas; Fong, Wing Lam Erica; Fragaszy, Ellen; Geismar, Cyril; Kovar, Jana; Navaratnam, Annalan M D; Nguyen, Vincent; Patel, Parth; Yavlinsky, Alexei; Johnson, Anne M; Van Tongeren, Martie; Aldridge, Robert W; Hayward, Andrew.
  • Beale S; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, NW1 2DA, UK.
  • Hoskins S; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London WC1E 7HB, UK.
  • Byrne T; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London WC1E 7HB, UK.
  • Fong WLE; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, NW1 2DA, UK.
  • Fragaszy E; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, NW1 2DA, UK.
  • Geismar C; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, NW1 2DA, UK.
  • Kovar J; Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK.
  • Navaratnam AMD; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, NW1 2DA, UK.
  • Nguyen V; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London WC1E 7HB, UK.
  • Patel P; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London WC1E 7HB, UK.
  • Yavlinsky A; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, NW1 2DA, UK.
  • Johnson AM; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London WC1E 7HB, UK.
  • Van Tongeren M; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, NW1 2DA, UK.
  • Aldridge RW; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London WC1E 7HB, UK.
  • Hayward A; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, NW1 2DA, UK.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 16: 100352, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799798
ABSTRACT

Background:

Workplaces are an important potential source of SARS-CoV-2 exposure; however, investigation into workplace contact patterns is lacking. This study aimed to investigate how workplace attendance and features of contact varied between occupations across the COVID-19 pandemic in England.

Methods:

Data were obtained from electronic contact diaries (November 2020-November 2021) submitted by employed/self-employed prospective cohort study participants (n=4,616). We used mixed models to investigate the effects of occupation and time for workplace attendance, number of people sharing workspace, time spent sharing workspace, number of close contacts, and usage of face coverings.

Findings:

Workplace attendance and contact patterns varied across occupations and time. The predicted probability of intense space sharing during the day was highest for healthcare (78% [95% CI 75-81%]) and education workers (64% [59%-69%]), who also had the highest probabilities for larger numbers of close contacts (36% [32%-40%] and 38% [33%-43%] respectively). Education workers also demonstrated relatively low predicted probability (51% [44%-57%]) of wearing a face covering during close contact. Across all occupational groups, workspace sharing and close contact increased and usage of face coverings decreased during phases of less stringent restrictions.

Interpretation:

Major variations in workplace contact patterns and mask use likely contribute to differential COVID-19 risk. Patterns of variation by occupation and restriction phase may inform interventions for future waves of COVID-19 or other respiratory epidemics. Across occupations, increasing workplace contact and reduced face covering usage is concerning given ongoing high levels of community transmission and emergence of variants.

Funding:

Medical Research Council; HM Government; Wellcome Trust.
Keywords

Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Type of study: Etiology study / Observational study / Prognostic study / Randomized controlled trials / Risk factors Topics: Variants Language: English Journal: Lancet Reg Health Eur Year: 2022 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: J.lanepe.2022.100352

Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Type of study: Etiology study / Observational study / Prognostic study / Randomized controlled trials / Risk factors Topics: Variants Language: English Journal: Lancet Reg Health Eur Year: 2022 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: J.lanepe.2022.100352