Hospital cleaners more at risk of Covid-19 than ICU doctors: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 12, 2020 Published on September 12, 2020

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Hospital staff including cleaners, sweepers, among others, are more at the risk of contracting the virus than doctors working in the intensive care units, according to the study conducted on several British Hospitals published in the journal Thorax.

The researchers also found that during the peak of the outbreak, Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds were almost twice as likely to have been infected as white colleagues.

Findings of the study

The study shows the disparity in income and allocation of resources due to which heavy caseload was reported among the marginalized sections.

Researchers noted that this could be because doctors working in the ICU take all precautionary measures while treating coronavirus patients.

Lead author Alex Richter, a professor of immunology at the University of Birmingham said in the study: "Workers in ITU are relatively well protected compared with other areas"

For the study, researchers examined 545 staff at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. The NHS runs numerous hospitals and has more than 20,000 employees.

Nearly 2.5 per cent of staff tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 i.e. 13 out of 545.

Researchers stated that the blood samples taken from 516 staff revealed that 24 per cent of them had antibodies for the virus.

10 out of 29 cleaners involved in the study - or 34.5 per cent - had antibodies suggesting a previous infection.

The rates were similar for clinicians working in acute medicine (33 per cent) and general internal (30 per cent). While staff working in intensive care had the lowest rates (15 per cent, or nine out of 61 participants).

Researchers noted in their study: "Regardless of the cause, this finding demands urgent further investigation, particularly in view of the ethnic disparities in the outcome from Covid-19."

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Published on September 12, 2020
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