Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies Among Healthcare Workers at a Tertiary Academic Hospital in New York City


Background: SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing is important for understanding immunity prevalence, and may have implications for healthcare workers (HCW) during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Methods: We conducted immunologic testing of healthcare workers to determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 IgG in this population. HCW were advised to wait at least two weeks from time of symptom onset or suspected exposure before undergoing testing. All participants were self-reported asymptomatic for at least three days at the time of testing. Results: Two hundred eighty-five samples were collected from March 24, 2020 to April 4, 2020. The average age of participants was 38 years (range 18-84), and 54% were male. Thirty-three percept tested IgG positive, 3% tested weakly positive, and 64% tested negative. Neither age nor sex was associated with antibody development. Conclusion: Thirty-six percent of HCW had IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, reflecting the high exposure of inpatient and ambulatory frontline staff to this viral illness, most of whom had minimal symptoms and were working in the weeks preceding testing. While we continue to recommend standard protective precautions per CDC guidelines for all HCW, HCW with SARS-CoV-2 IgG may become our safest frontline providers as we learn if our IgG antibodies confer immunity. Knowing IgG antibody status may ease concerns regarding personal risk as this pandemic continues.