Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, has disrupted much of the health care system. Despite changes in routine practices, community pharmacists have continuously served their patients throughout the pandemic. Frontline health care workers, including community pharmacy personnel, are at risk of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2. Objective: The purpose of this observational study was to report the prevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 from a sample of North Dakota community pharmacy personnel. Methods: This observational study was conducted in 2 cities in North Dakota with the highest COVID-19 rates at the time of investigation. Community pharmacy personnel were tested for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgM antibodies using a rapid antibody test. In addition to antibody testing, participants completed a questionnaire reporting on demographics, previous COVID-19 exposure, previous COVID-19 symptoms, and personal protection equipment (PPE) practices. Results: A total of 247 pharmacy personnel from 29 pharmacies were tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The timing and use of PPE varied by location. Among the 247 community pharmacy personnel, 14.6% tested positive for IgM, IgG, or both. Survey data revealed a statistically significant association (P < 0.05) between a positive antibody test and direct contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 (odds ratio: 2.65 [95% CI: 1.18–5.95]), but there were no statistically significant effects related to the workplace, including PPE use, personnel role, or the number of hours worked. The self-reported loss of taste or smell was the only significant symptom associated with a positive antibody test (18.91 [3.10–115.59]). Conclusion: Community pharmacy personnel may be at an increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 exposure compared with the general population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (nursing)