Comparison of COVID-19 infections among healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers

Link to article at PubMed

PLoS One. 2020 Dec 9;15(12):e0241956. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241956. eCollection 2020.


OBJECTIVES: Healthcare workers face distinct occupational challenges that affect their personal health, especially during a pandemic. In this study we compare the characteristics and outcomes of Covid-19 patients who are and who are not healthcare workers (HCW).

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed a cohort of 2,842 adult patients with known HCW status and a positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test presenting to a large academic medical center emergency department (ED) in New York State from March 21 2020 through June 2020. Early in the pandemic we instituted a policy to collect data on patient occupation and exposures to suspected Covid-19. The primary outcome was hospital admission. Secondary outcomes were ICU admission, need for invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), and mortality. We compared baseline characteristics and outcomes of Covid-19 adult patients based on whether they were or were not HCW using univariable and multivariable analyses.

RESULTS: Of 2,842 adult patients (mean age 53+/-19 years, 53% male) 193 (6.8%) were HCWs and 2,649 (93.2%) were not HCWs. Compared with non-HCW, HCWs were younger (43 vs 53 years, P<0.001), more likely female (118/193 [61%] vs 1211/2649 [46%], P<0.001), and more likely to have a known Covid-19 exposure (161/193 [83%] vs 946/2649 [36%], P<0.001), but had fewer comorbidities. On presentation to the ED, HCW also had lower frequencies of tachypnea (12/193 [6%] vs 426/2649 [16%], P<0.01), hypoxemia (15/193 [8%] vs 564/2649 [21%], P<0.01), bilateral opacities on imaging (38/193 [20%] vs 1189/2649 [45%], P<0.001), and lymphocytopenia (6/193 [3%] vs 532/2649 [20%], P<0.01) compared to non-HCWs. Direct discharges home from the ED were more frequent in HCW 154/193 (80%) vs 1275/2649 (48%) p<0.001). Hospital admissions (38/193 [20%] vs 1264/2694 [47%], P<0.001), ICU admissions (7/193 [3%] vs 321/2694 [12%], P<0.001), need for IMV (6/193 [3%] vs 321/2694 [12%], P<0.001) and mortality (2/193 [1%] vs 219/2694 [8%], P<0.01) were lower than among non-HCW. After controlling for age, sex, comorbidities, presenting vital signs and radiographic imaging, HCW were less likely to be admitted (OR 0.6, 95%CI 0.3-0.9) than non HCW.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with non HCW, HCW with Covid-19 were younger, had less severe illness, and were less likely to be admitted.

PMID:33296367 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0241956

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