CDC: More Than 9,000 Health Care Workers Infected with Coronavirus

CDC: More Than 9,000 Health Care Workers Infected with Coronavirus

Actual Number of COVID-19 Cases Could be 3x What is Reported

More than 9,000 U.S. health care workers−nearly three-quarters of whom are women− have become infected with coronavirus, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

The number of health care workers who have tested positive for coronavirus, the virus causing COVID-19 disease, is probably far higher than the reported tally of 9,300 infected U.S. health workers, the CDC study says. The majority who tested positive (55%) think they were exposed while at work. The median age was 42 years, and 73% were female, reflecting these distributions among the health care personnel (HCP) workforce. About 90% did not require hospitalization.

The assessment of front-line health care workers is based on preliminary data captured in a standardized form used to report coronavirus exposure to the CDC. It likely undercounts the number of infected health care workers by 3x since states and federal agencies are not uniformly reporting that data. In addition, HCP with mild or asymptomatic infections might also have been less likely to be tested, and thus less likely to be reported, the researchers wrote.

Just 16% of the forms collected between February 12 and April 9 included data on whether the patient was a health care worker. Most of the people tested in the overall data set (84%) did not say whether they were a health care worker or not.

Of the 315,000 forms, 9,282 (19%) were identified as HPC.

The CDC researchers write that ensuring infection control measures are strictly adhered to including making personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gowns, N95 respirators, eye protection and gloves is critical in caring for COVID-19 patients.

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