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To characterize residential social vulnerability among healthcare personnel (HCP) and evaluate its association with severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection.
This study analyzed data collected in May–December 2020 through sentinel and population-based surveillance in healthcare facilities in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, and Oregon.
Data from 2,168 HCP (1,571 cases and 597 controls from the same facilities) were analyzed.
HCP residential addresses were linked to the social vulnerability index (SVI) at the census tract level, which represents a ranking of community vulnerability to emergencies based on 15 US Census variables. The primary outcome was SARS-CoV-2 infection, confirmed by positive antigen or real-time reverse-transcriptase– polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test on nasopharyngeal swab. Significant differences by SVI in participant characteristics were assessed using the Fisher exact test. Adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between case status and SVI, controlling for HCP role and patient care activities, were estimated using logistic regression.
Significantly higher proportions of certified nursing assistants (48.0%) and medical assistants (44.1%) resided in high SVI census tracts, compared to registered nurses (15.9%) and physicians (11.6%). HCP cases were more likely than controls to live in high SVI census tracts (aOR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.37–2.26).
These findings suggest that residing in more socially vulnerable census tracts may be associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection risk among HCP and that residential vulnerability differs by HCP role. Efforts to safeguard the US healthcare workforce and advance health equity should address the social determinants that drive racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health disparities.
Background: Healthcare facilities have experienced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, including limited personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies. Healthcare personnel (HCP) rely on PPE, vaccines, and other infection control measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections. We describe PPE concerns reported by HCP who had close contact with COVID-19 patients in the workplace and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Method: The CDC collaborated with Emerging Infections Program (EIP) sites in 10 states to conduct surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 infections in HCP. EIP staff interviewed HCP with positive SARS-CoV-2 viral tests (ie, cases) to collect data on demographics, healthcare roles, exposures, PPE use, and concerns about their PPE use during COVID-19 patient care in the 14 days before the HCP’s SARS-CoV-2 positive test. PPE concerns were qualitatively coded as being related to supply (eg, low quality, shortages); use (eg, extended use, reuse, lack of fit test); or facility policy (eg, lack of guidance). We calculated and compared the percentages of cases reporting each concern type during the initial phase of the pandemic (April–May 2020), during the first US peak of daily COVID-19 cases (June–August 2020), and during the second US peak (September 2020–January 2021). We compared percentages using mid-P or Fisher exact tests (α = 0.05). Results: Among 1,998 HCP cases occurring during April 2020–January 2021 who had close contact with COVID-19 patients, 613 (30.7%) reported ≥1 PPE concern (Table 1). The percentage of cases reporting supply or use concerns was higher during the first peak period than the second peak period (supply concerns: 12.5% vs 7.5%; use concerns: 25.5% vs 18.2%; p Conclusions: Although lower percentages of HCP cases overall reported PPE concerns after the first US peak, our results highlight the importance of developing capacity to produce and distribute PPE during times of increased demand. The difference we observed among selected groups of cases may indicate that PPE access and use were more challenging for some, such as nonphysicians and nursing home HCP. These findings underscore the need to ensure that PPE is accessible and used correctly by HCP for whom use is recommended.
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