Frontline Medical Workers With PPE Still At Risk Of Contracting COVID-19

Henrietta Strickland
August 5, 2020

Previous studies have found that 10-20% of coronavirus infections occur among front-line workers.

The researchers used the COVID Symptom Tracker app to study data from more than 2 million people, including almost 100,000 front-line healthcare workers in the United States and the United Kingdom between March 24 and April 23.

At the peak of the pandemic in the United States and the United Kingdom, frontline healthcare workers (HCWs) who had adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) were still at more than three times the risk of COVID-19 infection than the general publiceven after accounting for differences in testing frequency, according to a study published late last week in The Lancet Public Health. We have seen high numbers of cases of Covid-19 in healthcare workers around the country, and it remains a prevalent threat to workers in the sector.

African American, Latino and other minority care suppliers were 5 times more most likely to agreement Covid-19 than their White equivalents, the study discovered. The data is clear in revealing that there is still an elevated risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection despite availability of PPE.

"Our findings highlight structural inequities in COVID risk", study co-author Erica Warner said in a statement.

A hospital in Starr County, Texas, was forced to choose who is "sent home to die" with the growing number of confirmed cases in Texas.

After accounting for pre-existing medical conditions, researchers estimated that healthcare workers from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds were nearly five times more likely to report a positive COVID-19 result than somebody from the general community.

'The health care organisations and frontline workers that are receiving this equipment are carrying out vital work to support their communities and those under their care, and we hope that it will enable them to work comfortably and safely'. Those with inadequate PPE had a further increase in risk.

"Our study provides a more accurate assessment of the magnitude of the increased risk of infection among healthcare workers compared to the broader community", said Dr. Andrew Chang, lead author of the study and director of cancer epidemiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The researchers concluded that there is still an increased risk of infection despite wearing PPE.

Front-line healthcare workers who reported having inadequate PPE were 1.3 times more likely to have COVID-19 than those with adequate PPE, the researchers found. "Many countries, including the US, continue to face vexing shortages of PPE".

Dr Mark Graham, Kings College London, Joint First Author, stated: "The work is important in the context of the widely reported higher death rates amongst healthcare workers from BAME backgrounds".

Researchers say their study not only shows the importance of adequate availability and use of PPE, but also the crucial need for additional strategies to protect healthcare workers, such as ensuring correct application and removal of PPE and avoiding reuse which was associated with increased risk. Among the medical personnel, Asians, Blacks, and health workers of varying ethnicities were twice at risk for contracting the infection compared to their white counterparts.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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