The use of infection control equipment did not affect healthcare workers’ risk of getting COVID-19, shows new research
In the new article, professor Bård Reiakvam Kittang, involved in the Bergen COVID-19 Research Group, together with his colleagues looked into the impact of the type of workplace and the use of infection control equipment on healthcare workers’ risk of contracting COVID-19.
The differences between the available infection control equipment in municipal health services compared to the specialist health service were quite big in the first year of the pandemic. Researchers at the UiB and Helse Bergen decided to investigate this topic in more detail, and find out to what extent this situation affected health workers’ risk of being infected with the coronavirus.
The scientists collected data from different health institutions in Bergen. The healthcare workers who participated in the study answered questions regarding the extent to which they were exposed to corona infection at work, whether they themselves had had COVID-19 confirmed by a PCR test and whether they had access to full infection control equipment at work. In addition to that, the researchers took blood samples from the participants, to check if they had antibodies against corona.
The study showed that 56% of participants who worked in nursing homes, had not had access to full infection control equipment at work, compared to 19% in hospitals and emergency room. Additionally, the research team divided the healthcare workers into groups according to the degree of exposure they had to the coronavirus at work. It turned out that more people were exposed to a high risk of infection in hospitals compared to nursing homes.
Nevertheless, the incidence of COVID-19 among employees at the various workplaces was quite similar. 4% of nursing homes employees had been infected, whereas 6% hospitals/emergency rooms got corona. This leads to a conclusion that neither the place of work, exposure at work nor access to infection control equipment significantly affected the healthcare workers’ risk of infection.