COVID-19 Cases Reported in Spokane County Healthcare Workers
It is no secret that healthcare workers all over the world have been significantly affected by the SARS CoV-2 pandemic, in both caring for COVID-19 patients and being patients themselves. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), healthcare workers account for 1 in 7 reported COVID-19 cases globally.
In Spokane County, more than 1,700 (3.8%) of all COVID-19 cases have been classified as healthcare workers.* From the clinician working in an ICU caring directly for COVID-19 patients, the patient scheduler at a pediatric clinic, the certified nursing assistant in a long-term care facility, to the engineer maintaining the plumbing and electrical systems of a large hospital, all are essential in their service to the community of Eastern Washington and beyond. As depicted in this epidemic curve** for COVID-19 cases among this group since the beginning of the pandemic, healthcare workers continue to be at risk. Vaccination of this group, as with the rest of the population, is a key element to controlling transmission and enhancing workplace safety.
*Healthcare Personnel (HCP): HCP refers to all paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials, including body substances (e.g., blood, tissue, and specific body fluids); contaminated medical supplies, devices, and equipment; contaminated environmental surfaces; or contaminated air. HCP include, but are not limited to, emergency medical service personnel, nurses, nursing assistants, home healthcare personnel, physicians, technicians, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, students and trainees, contractual staff not employed by the healthcare facility, and persons not directly involved in patient care, but who could be exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the healthcare setting (e.g., clerical, dietary, environmental services, laundry, security, engineering and facilities management, administrative, billing, and volunteer personnel). **All data are provisional.
Stephanie Nebehay, “One in 7 reported COVID-19 infections is among health workers, WHO says,” Reuters, September 17, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-who-healthworkers/one-in-7-reported-covid-19-infections-is-among-health-workers-who-says-idUSKBN2681TR?il=0.
CDC COVID-19 Response Team, “Characteristics of Health Care Personnel with COVID-19 — United States, February 12–April 9, 2020,” MMWR Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report 69, no. 15 (2020): 477–481. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6915e6.