1 in 6 Covid-19 hospitalised cases are related to healthcare workers and their families: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 29, 2020

Healthcare workers who treated Covid-19 patients were 3 times more likely to be admitted to hospital for Covid-19; their household members nearly twice as likely to be admitted than other working-age adults

Frontline healthcare workers and their families account for a sixth (17 per cent) of hospital admissions for Covid-19 in the working-age population (18-65 years).

The study, published in The BMJ journal, revealed that the overall percentage of the age group 18-65 was low. However, the risk of contracting the virus for the healthcare workers and their families, who belonged to the same age group, was relatively higher.

This is especially for those in “front door” patient-facing roles such as paramedics and A&E department staff, said the researchers.

The researchers believe that the findings have implications for the safety and well-being of healthcare workers, and their households.

Their findings are based on Scottish workforce data for 158,445 healthcare workers (aged 18-65 years), 229,905 household members, and other members of the general population during the peak period for Covid-19 infection in Scotland (March 1 to June 6, 2020).

The researchers found that admission to hospital with Covid-19 was uncommon, with an overall risk of less than 0.5 per cent.

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However, compared to other adults of working age, healthcare workers and their households accounted for 17 per cent of all Covid-19-related hospital admissions, even though they represent only 11 per cent of the working-age population.

After adjusting for factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, and underlying health conditions (comorbidities), the risk of hospital admission for Covid-19 for healthcare workers and their household members was similar to the risk in the general population when the health workers looked after patients who were not Covid-19 positive.

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However, healthcare workers who treated Covid-19 patients were three times more likely to be admitted to hospital for Covid-19, while members of their households were nearly twice as likely to be admitted to hospital for Covid-19 than other working-age adults.

Among healthcare workers admitted to hospital, one in eight was admitted into critical care and six (2.5 per cent) died. This corresponds to just 0.004 per cent of deaths as a proportion of all healthcare workers. In admitted household members, one in five was admitted to critical care and 18 (13 per cent) died.

These findings should help authorities take informed decisions on the organisation of health services, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and redeployment, the researchers concluded in their study.

Published on October 29, 2020

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