6% of US adults hospitalized with COVID-19 work in health care
In the United States, 6% of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 are health care personnel, an analysis indicated.
Almost 30% of health care personnel (HCP) with COVID-19 were admitted to the ICU, according to results published in MMWR.
“Findings from this analysis of data from a multisite surveillance network highlight the prevalence of severe COVID-19-associated illness among HCP and potential for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among HCP, which could decrease the workforce capacity of the health care system,” Anita K. Kambhampati, MPH, and colleagues from the CDC’s COVID-NET Surveillance Team, wrote.
“HCP, regardless of any patient contact, should adhere strictly to recommended infection prevention and control guidance at all times in health care facilities to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2, including proper use of recommended personal protective equipment, hand hygiene, and physical distancing.”
According to Kambhampati and colleagues, among 6,760 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 in 13 states between March 1 and May 31, 5.9% were HCP. Among the infected HCP, 36.3% worked in nursing-related occupations and 67.4% were expected to have direct contact with patients. A total of 89.8% of HCP had an underlying medical condition, with obesity being the most common one (72.5%).
Of the HCP, 28% were admitted to the ICU, 16% required mechanical ventilation and 4% died. Additionally, the median age of HCP (49) was lower than that of hospitalized adults (62).
The researchers noted five limitations of the study, including pending chart abstractions; unstable estimates due to small sample sizes; a lack of data on degree, frequency and duration of patient contact; a lack of information on exposure history; and a potential underestimation of COVID-19-related hospitalizations because laboratory confirmation is reliant on hospital testing policies.
A previous study suggested that a high proportion of SARS-CoV-2 infections in HCP may go undetected.
“Continued surveillance of hospitalized HCP is necessary to document the prevalence and characteristics of COVID-19 among this population,” Kambhampati and colleagues wrote. “Further understanding of exposure risks for SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCP is important to inform additional prevention strategies for these essential workers.”