December 10, 2020

Healthcare workers’ COVID-19 infections largely associated with community, home exposure

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study by researchers at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, finds that out-of-hospital (community and home) exposure to COVID-19 had the largest association with seropositive status of healthcare workers.

Of 6,150 healthcare workers analyzed, nurses, medical assistants, and support services workers were at highest risk for COVID-19 infections. After adjusting for demographics and out-of-hospital exposures, however, only nurses were were at higher risk and had higher odds for becoming seropositive for COVID-19.


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Exposure to patients receiving high-flow oxygen therapy and hemodialysis were significantly linked to higher odds of becoming infected with COVID-19.

The researchers concluded that the higher rates observed in nurses were more likely a result of exposures that occurred while performing their jobs. The higher rates observed in medical assistants and support service workers were more strongly driven by exposures that occurred outside of the hospital.

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