Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Aug 17:ciaa1200. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1200. Online ahead of print.
Across the world, healthcare workers (HCW) are at a greater risk of infection by the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) due to the nature of their work. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH) set out to understand the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare facilities and HCWs by tracking and analyzing data from case-patient interviews of HCWs. As of May 31st, over three months into the pandemic, nearly 5,500 positive HCWs were reported to LAC DPH, representing 9.6% of all cases. Cases reported working in 27 different setting types, including outpatient medical offices, correctional facilities, emergency medical services, etc., with the highest proportion from long-term care facilities (46.6%) and hospitals (27.7%). Case-patients included both clinical and non-clinical roles, with nearly half (49.4%) of positive HCWs being nurses. Over two-thirds of HCWs (68.6%) worked at some point during their infectious period and nearly half (47.9%) reported a known exposure to a positive patient and/or co-worker within their facility. Overall, compared to all LAC cases, HCWs reported lower rates of hospitalization (5.3% vs. 12.2%) and death (0.7% vs. 4.3%) from COVID-19. There are many factors that increase HCWs risk of infection, including high risk work environment, limited supply of personal protective equipment, and even pressure to help and work during a pandemic. In response to these data, LAC DPH created resources and provided guidance for healthcare facilities to best protect their patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.