June 21, 2021

Use of COVID-19 symptom incidence in HCWs to estimate hospital admissions in their communities

Editor's Note

This study by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, finds that healthcare worker (HCW) reported COVID-19 symptoms can be used to estimate hospital demand in the communities where they live.

This analysis includes 6,481 HCWs who worked at 1 hospital and lived within a 10-hospital service area in New England, from April 2, 2020, to November 4, 2020. The HCWs were required to report any symptoms that might be associated with COVID-19 on a daily basis via an automated text messaging system.

Results showed that an increased frequency of COVID-19 symptoms reported by HCWs at the single hospital where they worked was associated with increased hospitalizations across all 10 hospitals, 7 days later.

The findings suggest that before reliable testing is available in a pandemic, use of secondary data sources can be used to estimate hospital demand, the researchers say.

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