Analysis of COVID-19 hospitalization data from 13 sites indicated that 6% of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 were healthcare personnel (HCP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. Moreover, 4% of healthcare workers died with COVID-19 during hospitalization.
The database included 6,760 adults hospitalized March 1 to May 31, 2020, for whom HCP status was determined by the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET). The median age of hospitalized HCP was 49 years, and 90% had at least one underlying medical condition.
“Among HCP hospitalized with COVID-19, 36% were in nursing-related occupations, and 73% had obesity,” the CDC found.1 “Approximately 28% of these patients were admitted to an intensive care unit, [and] 16% required invasive mechanical ventilation.”
Of course, healthcare workers are at risk of COVID-19 both at work and in the community.
“Similar to the distribution of the U.S. healthcare workforce overall, a majority of hospitalized HCP in this report were female,” the CDC reported. “However, compared with previously reported demographic characteristics of U.S. HCP with COVID-19, HCP identified by COVID-NET were older, and a larger proportion were Black. Given that COVID-NET conducts surveillance specifically for hospitalized patients, these differences might reflect the association between increased age and severe outcomes associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as disproportionate effects among Black populations.”
HCP were defined as persons working in healthcare settings, home healthcare services, or healthcare occupations within other settings (e.g., school nurses) who have potential for exposure to patients or infectious materials. HCP were stratified into two groups for analyses according to presumed level of patient contact (i.e., those generally expected and those generally not expected to have direct patient contact) based on reported occupation.
From March 1 through May 31, 2020, COVID-NET received reports of 28,972 hospitalized adult patients, 8,515 of whom were sampled for complete chart abstraction. HCP status was documented for 6,760 sampled patients, 438 of whom were HCP. The median age of HCP hospitalized with COVID-19 was 49 years and 72% were female; 52% were non-Hispanic Black (Black), 27% were non-Hispanic White, and 9% were Hispanic or Latino persons.
“More than two-thirds (67%) of HCP hospitalized with COVID-19 worked in occupations in which they were generally expected to have direct patient contact; 36% of HCP hospitalized with COVID-19 worked in nursing-related occupations, including nurses (28%) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) (9%), the CDC said. “Patient aides and caregivers (7%) accounted for the next largest proportion of HCP hospitalized with COVID-19.”
Overall, 90% of HCP hospitalized with COVID-19 had documentation of at least one underlying condition. In addition to obesity, reporting underlying conditions were hypertension (41%) and diabetes (31%). Upon hospital admission, 97% of HCP reported COVID-19-associated signs and symptoms: shortness of breath (80%), cough (77%), and fever or chills (74%).
The median length of hospitalization among HCP with COVID-19 was four days (range, three to nine days). COVID-19 investigational treatments were administered to 48% of hospitalized HCP hospitalized. Overall, 28% of HCP were admitted to an ICU for a median of six days (range, three to 20 days), and 16% required invasive mechanical ventilation. Pneumonia was a documented discharge diagnosis for 57% of HCP hospitalized with COVID-19 and acute respiratory failure for 43%.
- Kambhampati AK, O’Halloran AC, Whitaker M, et al. COVID-19-associated hospitalizations among health care personnel – COVID-NET, 13 states, March 1-May 31, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1576-1583.