CDC Report Highlights COVID-19 Cases Among Health Care Professionals

April 15th 2020

The findings highlight that whether the HCP acquires the infection at work or in the community, it is necessary to protect the health and safety of this essential national workforce.

In an analysis conducted by the CDC, 9282 cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) reported in the United States from February 12 to April 9 identified the patient as a health care professional (HCP). The analysis of 315,531 cases used standardized forms, of which 16% included data on whether the patient was a health care worker in the United States. Of those 49,370 standardized forms, HCPs represented 19% the cases.

Among the HCP patients, the median age was 42 years, with 73% being female, and 38% reporting at least 1 underlying health condition. Fifty five percent of HCP patients with data on health care, household, and community exposures reported contact with a COVID-19 patient only in health care settings.

Although 92% HCP patients reported having at least 1 symptom among fever, cough, or shortness of breath, the remaining 8% did not report any of these symptoms. Approximately 90% of HCP patients with COVID-19 were not hospitalized; however, severe outcomes occurred across all age groups, including 27 deaths.

These findings highlight that whether the HCP acquires the infection at work or in the community, it is necessary to protect the health and safety of this essential national workforce, according to the CDC.

A total of 72% of the HCP patients with available data on race were white, while 21% were black, 5% were Asian, and 2% were other or multiple races. Among the 3624 with ethnicity specified, 90% were reported as non-Hispanic/Latino and 10% as Hispanic/Latino.

The report had a few limitations, including the 84% of missing data from patients on their HCP status. Among the cases reported in HCPs, the amount of missing data varied across demographic groups, exposures, symptoms, underlying conditions, and health outcomes. Additional data is needed to confirm these findings about the impact of potentially important factors; to further investigate, additional time will be necessary.

Details of occupation and health care setting were not routinely collected through case-based surveillance and were not available for this report. In addition, among the HCP patients who reported contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient in a health care setting, the nature of this contact and details of the potential occupational exposures are unknown.

REFERENCE

Characteristics of health care personnel with COVID-19—United States, February 12-April 9, 2020. CDC MMWR.https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6915e6.htm?s_cid=mm6915e6_e&deliveryName=USCDC_921-DM25829. Published April 14, 2020. Accessed April 15, 2020.

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