Study: Healthcare workers more likely to get COVID-19 despite PPE

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 08: A healthcare worker test a patient at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at the Duke Energy for the Arts Mahaffey Theater on July 8, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Pinellas County Government partnered with state and local health care agencies to open a COVID-19 testing site while the state undergoes another surge in coronavirus cases. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (NEXSTAR) — A new study shows front-line healthcare workers utilizing personal protective equiment (PPE) are still three times more likely to get COVID-19 compared to the general public.

The study published by Lancet Public Health showed workers with inadequate PPE dramatically increased their risk.

Researchers from Kings College in London and Harvard examined data from the COVID Symptom Study App for more than 2 million members of the general public and nearly 100,000 healthcare workers. Healthcare workers contracted COVID-19 at a rate of 2,747 cases per 100,000 while the general public saw 242 cases per 100,000.

“The findings of our study have tremendous impact for healthcare workers and hospitals,” Professor Sebastien Ourselin, senior author from King’s College London said in a news release. “The data is clear in revealing that there is still an elevated risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection despite availability of PPE.”

Researchers report the study shows the importance of adequate PPE and also the need for healthcare facilities to take additional steps to protect their workers.

“Additional protective strategies are equally as important, such as implementing social distancing among healthcare staff. Stricter protocols for socializing among healthcare staff also need to be considered.,” said Dr Claire Steves, lead clinical researcher from King’s College London.

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