Cleaners, porters and office staff working for the NHS in the UK were “super-spreaders” of coronavirus within hospitals, according to initial results from a national screening drive.
Sir John Bell, who oversees the Government’s antibody testing programme, said domiciliary workers in some hospitals were found to have “sky-high” levels of antibodies compared to doctors and nurses who treated patients in intensive care.
The discovery has prompted health bosses to examine how lower-paid workers can be better protected from the virus in the event of a second coronavirus wave, he said. It comes amid growing suspicion that a large proportion of virus cases were spread by medical workers rather than in the community.
In May, the Government asked NHS health chiefs to test staff for coronavirus antibodies in their blood in order to map the spread of disease in hospitals.
Sir John said the serology studies were now being used by hospitals to help better prepare for a potential second spike in the winter. “The hospitals are now using that information to make sure PPE and social distancing can be prioritised towards these types of workers if a second wave comes along,” he added.
Read more via The Telegraph