CDC: Among Providers, Nurses Most Likely To Get COVID-19


By Molly Walker

Nursing was the most common occupation and residential care facilities were the most common reported job setting for healthcare professionals (HCPs) with COVID-19, CDC researchers found.

In a subset of six jurisdictions reporting occupational type or job setting for HCPs with COVID-19, 30% of infected HCPs were nurses -- twice the proportion of nurses in the healthcare workforce (15%) -- and two-thirds of cases were in nursing and residential care settings, reported Michelle Hughes, PhD, of the CDC, and colleagues.

Similar to previously reported U.S. data, HCPs with COVID-19 who were male, age 65 or older, or nonwhite, or had underlying medical conditions, were particularly likely to have died.

The researchers cited workers in long-term care facilities as those most in need of attention during the pandemic.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple challenges in long-term care settings have been identified, including inadequate staffing and PPE, and insufficient training in infection prevention and control," Hughes and colleagues wrote. "As the pandemic continues, it is essential to meet the health and safety needs of HCPs serving populations requiring long-term care."

Even HCPs who do not provide direct patient care, such as administrative staff members and environmental service workers, were at risk, Hughes and colleagues also emphasized. About 19% of cases among HCPs had such jobs.

They added that their count probably underestimated the number of healthcare professionals with COVID-19, especially among asymptomatic individuals, given that job status was only available for 22% of COVID-19 cases reported to CDC. It was added to the CDC case report form in May.

The data -- which covered Feb. 12 to July 16, 2020 -- included 641 deaths in healthcare professionals with COVID-19. More recent statistics from the CDC indicates 162,328 cases of COVID-19 and 710 deaths as of Sept. 23 among U.S. healthcare professionals.

In the analysis, which covered about 100,000 COVID-affected HCPs who met inclusion criteria, median age was 41, and 79% were women. Of those with race/ethnicity data available, 47% were non-Hispanic white, 26% were Black, 12% were Hispanics or Latinos of any race, and 9% were Asian.

Among HCPs with data on underlying medical conditions, 44% had at least one of 10 underlying medical conditions. Cardiovascular disease (18%) was the most common, followed by chronic lung disease (16%) and diabetes (13%). Cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus were most common in those who died.

Hospitalization and intensive care unit admission status were available for only a portion of HCP cases; however, 8% of those with known status were hospitalized and 5% were admitted to an ICU.


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