Outcomes of COVID-19 among Hospitalized Health Care Workers in North America

Jeong Yun Yang, Michael D. Parkins, Andrew Canakis, Olga C. Aroniadis, Dhiraj Yadav, Rebekah E. Dixon, B. Joseph Elmunzer, Nauzer Forbes

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Importance: Although health care workers (HCWs) are at higher risk of acquiring coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is unclear whether they are at risk of poorer outcomes. Objective: To evaluate the association between HCW status and outcomes among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective, observational cohort study included consecutive adult patients hospitalized with a diagnosis of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 across 36 North American centers from April 15 to June 5, 2020. Data were collected from 1992 patients. Data were analyzed from September 10 to October 1, 2020. Exposures: Data on patient baseline characteristics, comorbidities, presenting symptoms, treatments, and outcomes were collected, including HCW status. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was a requirement for mechanical ventilation or death. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to yield adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% CIs for the association between HCW status and COVID-19-related outcomes in a 3:1 propensity score-matched cohort, adjusting for residual confounding after matching. Results: In total, 1790 patients were included, comprising 127 HCWs and 1663 non-HCWs. After 3:1 propensity score matching, 122 HCWs were matched to 366 non-HCWs. Women comprised 71 (58.2%) of matched HCWs and 214 (58.5%) of matched non-HCWs. Matched HCWs had a mean (SD) age of 52 (13) years, whereas matched non-HCWs had a mean (SD) age of 57 (17) years. In the matched cohort, the odds of the primary outcome, mechanical ventilation or death, were not significantly different for HCWs compared with non-HCWs (AOR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.34-1.04). The HCWs were less likely to require admission to an intensive care unit (AOR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.34-0.92) and were also less likely to require an admission of 7 days or longer (AOR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.34-0.83). There were no differences between matched HCWs and non-HCWs in terms of mechanical ventilation (AOR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.37-1.17), death (AOR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.18-1.27), or vasopressor requirements (AOR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.37-1.24). Conclusions and Relevance: In this propensity score-matched multicenter cohort study, HCW status was not associated with poorer outcomes among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and, in fact, was associated with a shorter length of hospitalization and decreased likelihood of intensive care unit admission. Further research is needed to elucidate the proportion of HCW infections acquired in the workplace and to assess whether HCW type is associated with outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35699
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number1
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2021


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