Think Health Care Workers Are Tested Often for the Coronavirus? Think Again

December 18, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified January 4, 2021

According to this article from NPR, a recent survey by National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union of registered nurses, found just 42% of RNs in hospitals said they had ever been tested for the virus. Guidance from the CDC suggests that health care personnel be tested if they are symptomatic or have a known exposure to the coronavirus. But treating COVID-19 patients while wearing personal protective equipment doesn’t count as exposure that warrants testing.

“It continues to amaze me that we are not doing this,” said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. While personal protective equipment goes a long way toward protecting health care workers, he said, there have been outbreaks at hospitals.

However, many health care workers are contracting the virus through community spread, just like other Americans. Last month, the Mayo Clinic said that more than 900 employees in Minnesota and Wisconsin had gotten COVID-19 in the previous two weeks, out of its 55,000 staff members there.

The Mayo Clinic’s medical director for occupational health, Laura Breeher, said the primary source of exposure for infected staff members is a known exposure to someone at home.

Share this

Related Articles

                                Leave a Comment