Results of COVID-19 screening in a dermatologic clinic in northern Italy





The COVID-19 pandemic has been a social, economic and sanitary challenge, which caused a great slowdown in most clinical activities. At the beginning of 2021, the gradual reopening of outpatient services was threatened by the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in healthcare facilities.


Between January and March 2021, our dermatologic clinic promoted a screening campaign based on rapid antigen-testing: adhering patients were tested for COVID-19 and were visited only after getting a negative result.


Among 635 recruited subjects, 514 agreed to be enrolled in the study, while 121 refused and were not tested. Only 1 of the 514 tests was positive for COVID-19, thus the incidence of COVID-19 infections was very low (0,002%). A significant percentage of patients (19,1%) refused to be tested. Among those who did not give consent for COVID-19 testing, 52,9% were male, although the total recruited population was prevalently female (56,1%).

Discussion and conclusions

Screening for COVID-19 in outpatient clinics is a promising tool to prevent virus outbreaks, despite the limitations posed by testing hesitancy. Moreover, the very low incidence of COVID-19 infection we detected could be seen as a sign of hope for the resumption of non-essential clinical activities.


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