Abstract

Objective: Many healthcare staff work in high-risk settings for contracting and transmitting Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. Their risk of hospitalisation for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and that of their households, is poorly understood. Design and settings and participants: During the peak period for COVID-19 infection in Scotland (1st March 2020 to 6th June 2020) we conducted a national record linkage study to compare the risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation among healthcare workers (age: 18-65 years), their households and other members of the general population. Main outcome: Hospitalisation with COVID-19 Results: The cohort comprised 158,445 healthcare workers, the majority being patient facing (90,733 / 158,445; 57.3%), and 229,905 household members. Of all COVID-19 hospitalisations in the working age population (18-65-year-old), 17.2% (360 / 2,097) were in healthcare workers or their households. Adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, socio-economic deprivation and comorbidity, the risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation in non-patient facing healthcare workers and their households was similar to the risk in the general population (hazards ratio [HR] 0.81; 95%CI 0.52-1.26 and 0.86; 95%CI 0.49-1.51 respectively). In models adjusting for the same covariates however, patient facing healthcare workers, compared to non-patient facing healthcare workers, were at higher risk (HR 3.30; 95%CI 2.13-5.13); so too were household members of patient facing healthcare workers (HR 1.79; 95%CI 1.10-2.91). On sub-dividing patient-facing healthcare workers into those who worked in front-door, intensive care and non-intensive care aerosol generating settings and other, those in front door roles were at higher risk (HR 2.09; 95%CI 1.49-2.94). For most patient facing healthcare workers and their households, the estimated absolute risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation was less than 0.5% but was 1% and above in older men with comorbidity. Conclusions: Healthcare workers and their households contribute a sixth of hospitalised COVID-19 cases. Whilst the absolute risk of hospitalisation was low overall, patient facing healthcare workers and their households had 3- and 2-fold increased risks of COVID-19 hospitalisation.

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This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Cite as

Shah, A., Wood, R., Gribben, C., Caldwell, D., Bishop, J., Weir, A., Kennedy, S., Reid, M., Smith-Palmer, A., Goldberg, D., McMenamin, J., Fischbacher, C., Robertson, C., Hutchinson, S., McKeigue, P., Colhoun, H. & McAllister, D. 2020, 'Risk of hospital admission with coronavirus disease 2019 in healthcare workers and their households: nationwide linkage cohort study', BMJ, 371(8266), article no: m3582. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3582

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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