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Numbers Lacking on COVID-19-Infected Healthcare Workers

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Similarly, the Detroit Department of Health says the department does not track the number of infections specifically among healthcare workers, telling Medscape Medical News, “We do not request employment history when conducting tests.”


California Sets a Standard

California stands out in its public reporting of infected healthcare workers. This week, local health departments started reporting not only the numbers of healthcare workers infected at their workplace, but also the number of healthcare workers affected, regardless of where they were exposed.

“Since COVID-19 is moving rapidly within the community, healthcare workers now appear just as likely, if not more so, to become infected by COVID-19 outside the workplace,” the California Department of Public Health said in a statement published online April 8.

For instance, as of April 8 in California, 299 healthcare workers acquired COVID-19 in a healthcare setting; 462 were exposed via travel, close contacts, or community transmission; and 890 reported exposure but the source is not known.

Ohio also tracks cases among its healthcare workforce and reports the statistics publicly. As of April 9, the state reported a total of 5512 cases, with 1137 (21%) of those among healthcare workers.

Ohio Department of Health Spokesperson Melanie Amato told Medscape Medical News, “We decided to track the number of healthcare workers so we could show how important it is to have PPE for these workers to continue and try to protect them from getting sick. We also wanted to be transparent in our testing and tracking throughout Ohio.”


BuzzFeed News reported that 10 other states are reporting infections among healthcare workers. As of April 9, the numbers were as follows: Alabama (393), Arkansas (158), Idaho (143), Maine (97), New Hampshire (241), Oklahoma (229), Oregon (153), Pennsylvania (850), Rhode Island (257), and West Virginia (76). Additionally, Washington, DC, reported 29 cases among healthcare workers.

A Washington state official told BuzzFeed News that the state is asking people with confirmed COVID-19 about their professions, but the state is not disclosing the numbers because information is incomplete.

Officials in Illinois and New Jersey also told BuzzFeed that the information is not publicly available.

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