COVID-19 symptoms, duration, and prevalence among healthcare workers in the New York metropolitan area

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Abstract

Objective: To evaluate symptoms, workforce implications, and testing patterns related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic among healthcare workers (HCWs) in the New York metropolitan area during spring 2020. Design: Retrospective cohort study of occupational health services (OHS) records. Setting: A large, urban, academic medical center with 5 inpatient campuses and multiple ambulatory centers throughout Bronx and Westchester counties. Participants: We included HCWs who called OHS to report COVID-19 symptoms and had either severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or IgG antibody testing. Methods: We analyzed the impact of COVID-19-related symptoms on (1) time from symptom onset to return to work, (2) the results of SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal PCR testing, and (3) the results of SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody testing in HCWs with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. Results: The median time from symptom onset until return to work for HCWs who did not require hospitalization was 15 days (interquartile range, 10-22). Shortness of breath, fever, sore throat, and diarrhea were significantly associated with longer durations from symptom onset to return to work. Among symptomatic HCWs who had PCR testing during the study period, 51.9% tested positive. Of the previously symptomatic HCWs who had IgG antibody testing, 55.4% had reactive tests. Ageusia was associated with having both positive PCR and reactive antibody tests. Sore throat was associated with both negative PCR and nonreactive antibody tests. Conclusion: HCWs with COVID-19 who did not require hospitalization still had prolonged illness. Shortness of breath, fever, sore throat, and diarrhea are associated with longer durations of time away from work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-923
Number of pages7
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Volume42
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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