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Risk for Positive COVID-19 Test Up for Health Care Workers

Risk increased for frontline health care workers compared with the general community

MONDAY, Aug. 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Frontline health care workers have an increased risk for reporting a positive test for COVID-19, according to a study published online July 31 in The Lancet Public Health.

Long H. Nguyen, M.D., from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a prospective observational cohort study in the United Kingdom and the Unites States of the general community, including frontline health care workers.

The researchers recorded 5,545 incident reports of a positive COVID-19 test during 34,435,272 person-days among 2,035,395 community individuals and 99,795 frontline health care workers. Frontline health care workers were at increased risk for reporting a positive COVID-19 test compared with the general community (adjusted hazard ratio, 11.61). The risk for reporting a positive test was also increased in an inverse probability-weighted model used to adjust for the likelihood of receiving a COVID-19 test in order to account for differences in testing frequency between frontline health care workers and the general community and possible selection bias (adjusted hazard ratio, 3.40). Adequacy of personal protective equipment, clinical setting, and ethnic background were also important factors in secondary and post-hoc analyses.

“Further intervention studies investigating modifiable risk factors for health care worker-related severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection, ideally accounting for differential exposure according to race and ethnic background and care location, are urgently needed to support our observational findings,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Zoe Global, which partially funded the study.

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