Are front-line healthcare workers at an increased risk of testing positive for COVID-19?

Bottom Line:

Front-line healthcare workers were over three times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 when compared to the general community. Additionally, re-use of PPE was found to increase the risk of a positive coronavirus test in healthcare workers when compared to those with adequate PPE.

Reference:

Nguyen, L.H. et al. Risk of COVID-19 among front-line health-care workers and the general community: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30164-X

Date Published:

31 July 2020

Synopsis:

This study sought to better understand the risk of COVID-19 infection among front-line healthcare workers compared to those of the general public. Through the assessment of over 2.1 million individuals using an application, it was found that front-line healthcare workers were at an overall increased risk of being infected with the COVID-19 virus. In order to mitigate that this could be caused by increased testing frequency compared to the general public, a statistical model was used which confirmed these findings. Overall, front-line healthcare workers were over three times more likely to have a positive COVID-19 test when compared to the general community. It was also found that healthcare workers that re-used personal protective equipment (PPE) were also at an increased risk of having a positive coronavirus test when compared to healthcare workers who reported using adequate PPE. Ultimately, although the overall risk of a positive coronavirus test is higher among front-line healthcare workers, proper use of PPE is crucial.

Summary by: Max Solish