Modelling the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on workplace transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the home-delivery sector

University of Manchester COVID-19 Modelling Group, Carl Whitfield, Martie Van Tongeren, Yang Han, Hua Wei, Sarah Daniels, Martyn Regan, D W Denning, Arpana Verma, Lorenzo Pellis, Ian Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We aimed to use mathematical models of SARS-COV-2 to assess the potential efficacy of non-pharmaceutical interventions on transmission in the parcel delivery and logistics sector.
Methods: We developed a network-based model of workplace contacts based on data and consultations from companies in the parcel delivery and logistics sectors. We used these in stochastic simulations of disease transmission to predict the probability of workplace outbreaks in this settings. Individuals in the model have different viral load trajectories based on SARS-CoV-2 in-host dynamics, which couple to their infectiousness and test positive probability over time, in order to determine the impact of testing and isolation measures.
Results: The baseline model (without any interventions) showed different workplace infection rates for staff in different job roles. Based on our assumptions of contact patterns in the parcel delivery work setting we found that when a delivery driver was the index case, on average they infect only 0.14 other employees , while for warehouse and office workers this went up to 0.65 and 2.24 respectively. In the LIDD setting this was predicted to be 1.40, 0.98, and 1.34 respectively. Nonetheless, the vast majority of simulations resulted in 0 secondary cases among customers (even without contact-free delivery). Our results showed that a combination of social distancing, office staff working from home, and fixed driver pairings (all interventions carried out by the companies we consulted) reduce the risk of workplace outbreaks by 3-4 times.
Conclusion: This work suggests that, without interventions, significant transmission could have occured in these workplaces, but that these posed minimal risk to customers. We found that identifying and isolating regular close-contacts of infectious individuals (i.e. house-share, carpools, or delivery pairs) is an efficient measure for stopping workplace outbreaks. Regular testing can make these isolation measures even more effective but also increases the number of staff isolating at one time. It is therefore more efficient to use these isolation measures in addition to social distancing and contact reduction interventions, rather than instead of, as these reduce both transmission and the number of people needing to isolate at one time.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPL o S One
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Apr 2023


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