Since COVID-19 was recognized in the United States in January 2020, the risk of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) attributed to exposures in the health care workplace has been studied with conflicting results. It remains unclear whether certain job functions or specific workplace activities, including care for individuals with known and unknown SARS-CoV-2 positivity, increase the risk of infection.
A recent study of more than 24,000 health care personnel (HCP) identified a low SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence (4.4%) across multiple, geographically diverse health care systems. While prior studies assessed community exposure primarily through self-reporting, our study found an association between the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 in and HCP’s residential zip code and seropositivity across a diverse geographic area. The higher the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 until the week prior to the antibody test, the higher the risk of the HCP being antibody positive. Using data from across health care systems and states, this study found that the factors presumed to be most associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection risk among HCP, including workplace role, environment, and caring for COVID-19 patients, were not associated with increased HCP risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Continued efforts to minimize SARS-CoV-2 infection risk among HCAP requires more investigation and an emphasis on mitigating risk outside the health care setting including vaccine considerations. Stay well, mask up and stay tuned!