Business, College of


Document Type



Preventive Medicine Reports 30 (2022) 102049.


Open access.


Proactive management of SARS-CoV-2 requires timely and complete population data to track the evolution of the virus and identify at risk populations. However, many cases are asymptomatic and are not easily discovered through traditional testing efforts. Sentinel surveillance can be used to estimate the prevalence of infections for geographical areas but requires identification of sentinels who are representative of the larger population. Our goal is to evaluate applicability of a population of labor and delivery patients for sentinel surveillance system for monitoring the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We tested 5307 labor and delivery patients from two hospitals in Phoenix, Arizona, finding 195 SARS-CoV-2 positive. Most positive cases were associated with people who were asymptomatic (79.44%), similar to statewide rates. Our results add to the growing body of evidence that SARS-CoV-2 disproportionately impacts people of color, with Black people having the highest positive rates (5.92%). People with private medical insurance had the lowest positive rates (2.53%), while Medicaid patients had a positive rate of 5.54% and people without insurance had the highest positive rates (6.12%). With diverse people reporting for care and being tested regardless of symptoms, labor and delivery patients may serve as ideal sentinels for asymptomatic detection of SARS-CoV-2 and monitoring impacts across a wide range of social and economic classes. A more robust system for infectious disease management requires the expanded participation of additional hospitals so that the sentinels are more representative of the population at large, reflecting geographic and neighborhood level patterns of infection and risk.