Health care leads all industries for the highest incidence of COVID-19 infections in the state of Wisconsin, with occupations related to the long-term care sector following suit, according to a new study. . Nursing facilities lead in incidence of COVID-19 across health industry subsectors and health care aides lead in incidence across occupational subgroups, researchers say .
In what the investigators called one of the “most comprehensive examinations to date of the incidence of COVID-19 by occupation and industry,” data on COVID-19 cases was collected and analyzed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services from September 2020 through May 2021 for working adults ages 18-64.
About 12% of Wisconsin workers (more than 347,000 of about 3 million) had COVID-19 during the study period. By occupation, personal care and service workers had the highest incidence of infection at 22.4 among 100 full-time peers, followed closely by health professionals (20.7 per 100).
When all occupations were broken down by subgroup, nursing aides and orderlies topped the list of those most at risk of infection (28.8), followed by child care workers. children (25.8) and food service workers (25.3).
When analyzed by industry, the data showed that the incidence of COVID-19 per 100 was highest in healthcare (18.6). And among the health care subsectors, those with the highest risk were nursing facilities (30.5) and warehousing (28.5).
The results reveal the usefulness of collecting standardized professional data in public health, the investigators wrote in the study, published in Clinical infectious diseases.
Work-related exposure plays a key role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, “yet few studies have measured the risk of COVID-19 across occupations and industries,” reported Jonathan Meiman, MD, of the University of Wisconsin and colleagues.
“Workers at higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure may benefit from targeted workplace COVID-19 vaccination and mitigation efforts,” the authors concluded.
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