Nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic are at greater risk of infection than other clinicians, according to the COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET), a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Nurse-related occupations, including nurses and certified nursing assistants, represent the largest proportion (36%) of healthcare providers (HCPs) hospitalized with COVID-19. The national survey brought to light what many nurses may have already known: nursing as a profession bears the brunt of the pandemic.
Lack of personal protective equipment and workplace resources contributed to the increase in cases among nurses. Plus, the close contact that nurses have with patients creates an environment prone to infection. Nursing-related occupations also account for a large proportion of the United States’ healthcare workforce. In 2019, RN alone represented approximately one-third of healthcare practitioners.
Patient aides and caregivers (6.6%) accounted for the next largest proportion of HCPs hospitalized with COVID-19. More than two-thirds (67.4%) of HCPs hospitalized with COVID-19 worked in occupations in which they were generally expected to have direct patient contact.
Many of the 6,760 HCPs hospitalized from March 1–May 31, 2020, had indicators of severe disease:
- 27.5% were admitted to an intensive care unit.
- 15.8% required invasive mechanical ventilation.
- 4.2% died during hospitalization.
COVID-NET conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations among more than 250 hospitals across 99 counties in 14 U.S. states:
- New Mexico
- New York