Am J Emerg Med. 2020 Jun 6;38(9):1727-1731. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2020.05.113. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: It is essential to know the proportion of health care workers (HCW) who are COVID 19 positive, as well as the severity and mortality among them.
METHODS: This systematic review was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and meta-analysis. Databases including PubMed, EMBASE and Web of Science were searched from December-31, 2019 to April-23, 2020. The search was limited to the studies that reported the data on the number of COVID-19 positive healthcare workers, among the COVID-19 positive patients. Case reports, duplicate publications, reviews, and family-based studies were excluded. The methodological quality of studies was assessed by the Appraisal tool for Cross-Sectional Studies (AXIS) tool.
RESULTS: In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we pooled eleven studies to investigate the above factors. The overall proportion of HCW who were SARS-CoV-2 positive among all COVID-19 patients was 10.1% (95%CI: 5.3-14.9). This proportion varied according to the country of study i.e. China (7 studies) - 4.2%, 95%CI:2.4-6.0; United States (3 studies) - 17.8%, 95%CI:7.5-28.0; and Italy (1 study) - 9.0%, 95%CI:8.6-9.4. The incidence of severe or critical disease in HCW (9.9%, 95%CI:0.8-18.9) was significantly lower (p < 0.001) than the incidence of severe or critical disease in all COVID-19 positive patients (29.4%, 95%CI:18.6-40.2). Similarly, the mortality among HCW (0.3%, 95%CI:0.2-0.4) was also significantly lower (p < 0.001) as compared to that of all patients (2.3%, 95%CI:2.2-2.4).
CONCLUSION: Health care workers who are COVID-19 positive constituted a significant proportion of all COVID-19 patients; but the severity and mortality were lower among them.