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Learning from the Experiences in the COVID-19 Pandemic - Impact on Quality of Life and Challenges for the Staff of a Dermatological Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Germany: A Retrospective Analysis.

PURPOSE: During the COVID-19 pandemic, infections could also be detected among the staff and patients of the dermatological hospital Bad Bentheim (Germany). This retrospective analysis aims to better understand the impact of the pandemic on health care workers. The results could help improve future pandemic plans and measures to protect health care workers.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In 2020, the whole staff (460 participants) of the dermatological hospital Bad Bentheim had been offered the option to be tested with respect to the antibody status on SARS-CoV-2 (IgG, IgM). The data were collected by means of a blood sample and subsequent questionnaires (22 questions for employees with positive SARS-CoV-2 serology) regarding disease severity, symptoms, disease duration, chains of infection, psychological and physical burden. Both groups were divided by positive or negative serology and data analysis was performed using an independent t -test.

RESULTS: It was shown that a COVID-19 Infection clinically presented itself as a respiratory tract infection, differed significantly in severity and duration, but also the long-term consequences in employees with proven COVID-19 disease (n=14, 3.7%) from the employees with non-COVID-19 respiratory diseases (33.6% of the seronegative employees). In addition, there was a significant psychological impairment and burden of COVID-19-affected employees. Our study showed unique insights into infection chains, disease courses, disease severity, symptoms and a significant psychological impairment and burden of COVID-19-affected employees among the COVID-19 positive staff.

CONCLUSION: Our study shows deep insights into infection chains, disease courses, disease severity and symptoms among the COVID-19 positive staff and led to change of behavior with the disease itself and among the health care professionals. This knowledge has the potential to positively influence the handling of similar future events.

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