14 Citations (Scopus)


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 in 2020, we conducted drive-through nasopharyngeal swab testing for COVID-19 in Sendai city, Japan, since April 2020. All tested individuals were judged in advance by public health centers for the necessity of undergoing the test with possible contact history and/or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. In this study, to identify the predictors of SARS-CoV-2 test positivity for more efficient and evidenced selection of suspected individuals, we enrolled 3,540 consecutive individuals, tested in the first 7 months of the testing program, with data regarding to the history of close contact with COVID-19 patients, including those involved in cluster outbreaks. This cohort included 284 foreign students (257 males and 27 females) from a vocational school involved in the largest cluster outbreak in the area. Close contact history was present in 952 (26.9%) of the participants. The reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results showed that 164 participants (4.6%) were positive and 3,376 participants (95.4%) were negative for the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid gene (N2). In the univariate and multivariate analyses, history of close contact with COVID-19 patients, higher age, cough symptoms, and non-native ethnicity were predictors for SARS-CoV-2 test positivity. However, the significance of age and foreign nationality disappeared or declined upon excluding the foreign students from the aforementioned largest cluster outbreak. In conclusion, a history of close contact with COVID-19 patients and the presence of cough symptoms are significant predictors of SARS-CoV-2 test positivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-108
Number of pages8
JournalTohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • Drive-through
  • Nasopharyngeal swab test
  • Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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