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CDC Looks at Transmission of COVID-19 to Health Care Workers

Longer exposure to patients linked to transmission; many HCP report exposure only in health care setting


FRIDAY, April 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to health care personnel (HCP) is explored in two studies published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Amy Heinzerling, M.D., from the California Department of Public Health, and colleagues characterized and compared exposures among HCP who did and did not develop COVID-19 after treatment of a patient admitted to a hospital who underwent multiple aerosol-generating procedures and subsequently tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) at a second hospital. Thirty-seven HCP who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 were interviewed, including three who tested positive. The researchers found that HCP with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 more often had performed physical examinations and had exposure to the patient during nebulized treatments; they also had exposures of longer duration to the patient. None of the HCP wore personal protective equipment.

Sherry L. Burrer, M.P.H., from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues describe the characteristics of HCP with COVID-19 during Feb. 12 to April 9, 2020. The researchers found that among 315,531 COVID-19 cases reported to CDC, 9,282 patients were identified as HCP. Fifty-five percent of the HCP patients reported contact with a COVID-19 patient only in the health care setting. Eight percent did not report symptoms, but 92 percent reported at least one of fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

"It is critical to make every effort to ensure the health and safety of this essential national workforce of approximately 18 million HCP, both at work and in the community," Burrer and colleagues write.

Abstract/Full Text - Heinzerling
Abstract/Full Text - Burrer

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