An analysis of 97 COVID-19 studies by investigators from Switzerland and Colombia has found that more than half of healthcare workers who test positive for the virus are nurses. The study also showed that 40% of healthcare workers receiving a positive diagnosis showed no symptoms.
Researchers examined data from more than 230,000 healthcare workers across 24 countries. They estimated the prevalence of infections at 7% to 11% in screened workers, depending on whether the worker used a viral or antibody test for diagnosis. Nurses tested positive for the virus at a rate of 58%, followed by physicians (25%) and other healthcare workers (23%).
Based on these findings, the authors estimated that screening healthcare workers only with symptoms, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, is likely not enough. They recommended standard universal screening for all exposed workers, regardless of symptoms. In addition, “it is clear that providing healthcare workers with adequate personal protective equipment and training is essential,” they said.
Results were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.