Identification of Asymptomatic Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infections Among Healthcare Workers at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Oman

Amal Al Shibli, Mahmood Al Jufaili, Awatif Al Alawi, Abdullah Balkhair, Ibrahim Al Zakwani, Faisal Al Azri, Khuloud Al Maamari, Fatma Ba Alawi, Azza Al Qayoudhi, Hajar Al Ghafri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to describe the incidence and features of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections among healthcare workers (HCWs) at a tertiary hospital in Oman.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted between August 2020 and February 2021 among HCWs with no history of COVID-19 infection. An online questionnaire collected sociodemographic and clinical data. COVID-19 infection was diagnosed using nasopharyngeal/throat swabs, which were tested for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Analyses were performed using the Chi-squared test, Fisher's exact test or univariate ordinary least squares regression, as appropriate.

RESULTS: A total of 583 HCWs participated in the study, most of whom were female (56.6%), and the mean age was 35 ± 8 years. Only 9.6% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 7.3-12.3%) of the HCWs were at high exposure risk as they were directly involved in the care of COVID-19-infected patients. Overall, 4.1% (95% CI: 2.7-6.1%) of the HCWs screened positive for SARS-CoV-2, of which 20.8% developed symptoms within two weeks. The frequency of SARS-CoV-2 positivity among HCWs working in high-, intermediate-, low- and miscellaneous-risk areas was 1.8% (95% CI: <0.1-9.6%), 2.6% (95% CI: <0.1-6.5%), 5.3% (95% CI: 0.3-9.3%) and 4.8% (95% CI: <0.1-69.3%), respectively. Working in high-risk areas was associated with increased compliance with various infection control strategies (P <0.001).

CONCLUSION: There was a greater frequency of SARS-CoV-2 positivity among HCWs working in low-risk areas, whereas HCWs who worked in high-risk areas were significantly more likely to report increased compliance with infection control strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-343
Number of pages8
JournalSultan Qaboos University Medical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 28 2023


  • Adult
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oman/epidemiology
  • SARS-CoV-2

Cite this