COVID Exposure Risk Outside of Work Increasing for Clinicians

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

One third of COVID-19 exposures among health care providers (HCPs) in Minnesota are due to family or community exposure, not patient care, according to a study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and published online October 30 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. And nonwork exposures were more likely to lead to COVID-19 infections.

Between March 6 and July 11, 2020, researchers with the MDH evaluated 21,406 incidences of HCP exposure to confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of those, 5374 (25%) were classified as higher-risk exposures, meaning the provider had close contact for 15 minutes or more, or during an aerosol-generating procedure.

Two thirds (66%) of the higher-risk exposures occurred during direct patient care and 34% were related to nonpatient care interactions (eg, coworkers, social and household contacts). Overall, 6.9% (373) of the HCPs with a higher-risk exposure received a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result within 14 days of the exposure. Notably, HCPs with household or social exposure had the highest positivity rate across all exposure types at 13%.

“Since the time period covered in this report, we’ve seen a significant increase in the proportion of HCPs who have had higher-risk exposures outside of work due to household or social contacts,” said lead author Ashley Fell, MPH, from the Minnesota Department of Health.

“HCPs with household or social exposures are also more likely to test positive than HCPs with higher risk exposures within the healthcare setting, which is an important message for both HCPs and the community at large that more COVID-19 spreading in our communities poses a greater risk to our HCPs and health care system,” Fell told Medscape Medical News.

When evaluating personal protective equipment (PPE) use among exposed HCPs, researchers found that 90% of providers in acute or ambulatory care were wearing a respirator or medical-grade face mask at time of exposure, compared with just 68% of HCPs working in congregate living or long-term care facilities.

Further, investigators found that an HCP with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test working in a congregate living or long-term care facility resulted in exposure of a median of three additional HCPs (interquartile range [IQR], 1-6) compared with a median of one additional HCP exposure in acute or ambulatory care (IQR, 1-3).

The researchers also found that, compared with HCPs in acute or ambulatory settings, HCPs working in long-term care or congregate living settings were more likely to return to work following a high-risk exposure (57% vs 37%) and work while symptomatic (4.8% vs 1.3%).

When asked whether these findings apply to HCPs in other states, Andrew T. Chan, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, noted: “These data are not surprising and confirm what many of us have been seeing in our own areas.

“Clearly, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is particularly high for front-line health care workers in long-term care facilities and nursing homes,” Chan said.

“Furthermore, the infection control practices in these care settings are often

Read more

Galloway Library Closes After Coronavirus Exposure

GALLOWAY, NJ — The Galloway Branch of the Atlantic County Library will remain closed until further notice because of coronavirus exposure. Someone who had been in the facility tested positive for COVID-19, according to county officials.

The library closed Friday, when the Atlantic County Division of Public Health began contact tracing. Officials instructed employees to self-quarantine and monitor their health.

Anyone identified as a “close contact” with the individual will be asked to self-quarantine and monitor their symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, nausea, muscle aches and new loss of taste or smell. Unless health officials contact you, you’re not considered a close contact.

Additional deep cleaning and sanitization of the library will occur.

County and health officials remind the public to remain vigilant. The amount of coronavirus cases in the county, state and nation has seen an uptick. New Jersey’s total of 1,994 new cases on Saturday was the highest single-day count reported since May 6.

“We are all concerned about the resilience of this virus and the devastating toll this pandemic has taken,” County Executive Dennis Levinson said in a statement. “Until we have a vaccine and can mitigate the spread of Covid-19, it is vitally important to continue to protect ourselves and others by wearing facemasks, maintaining social distancing, avoiding crowds, and practicing frequent handwashing and other hygiene protocols.”

State officials have reported 5,045 cases, 253 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 11 “probable” deaths in Atlantic County since the pandemic began.

Click here to get Patch email notifications on this or other local news articles or get Patch breaking news alerts sent right to your phone with our app. Download here. Follow Galloway Patch. Have a news tip? Email [email protected]

This article originally appeared on the Galloway Patch

Source Article

Read more

In New Hampshire, 2 COVID-19 Deaths; More Restaurant Exposure

CONCORD, NH — Three more establishments in New Hampshire are reporting possible COVID-19 community exposure after 129 more people tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday.

The State Joint Information Center said a positive test result was at Paddy’s American Grille on 27 International Drive in Portsmouth between Oct. 12 and Oct. 16 and was potentially infectious. The state has determined that there was potential community exposure in the bar area of the restaurant.

Another person has also tested positive for COVID-19 at La Vista Italian Cuisine at the River Walk Resort at Loon Mountain and may have been potentially infectious to patrons who were at the establishment during the afternoon or evening of Oct. 17, Oct. 18, Oct. 20, and Oct. 22.

Also, a player at the Concord Casino at The Draft in Concord, who was playing at a gaming table on Oct. 14, has also tested positive for COVID-19 and may have been infectious to others.

“DHHS has conducted contact investigations on all cases associated with these potential community exposures and is notifying known close contacts directly,” the State Joint Information Center said. “However, DHHS is making this public notification because there may be additional individuals at the location during those days and times who were exposed to the coronavirus.”

These possible establishment community exposures follow five other exposures announced on Friday — at The Barley House and The Draft in Concord, the Daniel Street Tavern and The Goat Bar and Grill in Portsmouth, and the Bantam Grill in Peterborough.

Two more elderly men have died. One lived in Merrimack County while the other lived in Hillsborough County. Both were 80 years of age or older and lived in long-term care settings.

Another 129 new positive tests were also announced Saturday including 19 children and 76 were female. Most of the tests were polymerase chain reaction specimens. More than 8,500 specimens were collected Friday with previous test counts upgraded slightly and 248 tests pending for a 1.3 percent positivity rate.

Twenty-eight of the new patients live in Rockingham County, 24 live in Hillsborough County outside of Manchester and Nashua, 11 live in Merrimack, and five reside in Nashua.

According to the state, 10,238 people have contracted COVID-19 in New Hampshire while 8,819 have recovered from the virus, about 86 percent.

Nineteen individuals are hospitalized but only two of the new cases had no identified risk factors.

More than 329,000 people have been tested via 574,187 tests.

Around 4,350 people are under public health monitoring.


Stop The Spread Of COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus is spread through respiratory droplets, usually through coughing and sneezing, and exposure to others who are sick or might be showing symptoms.

Health officials emphasize residents should follow these recommendations:

  • Avoid any domestic and international travel, especially on public transportation such as buses, trains, and airplanes.

  • Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet from other people, including distancing while in waiting areas or lines.

  • When you can’t practice 6 feet of

Read more

‘The impact of work’: On-the-job coronavirus exposure a key driver in Black, Latino communities | Business News

Because it was a nice afternoon in March, Katrina Llorens Joseph and her husband Albert decided to sit outside for lunch at the Subway restaurant not far from City Park.

Afterward, she went back to her desk at the VA Hospital, and he got behind the wheel of a city bus.

“He dropped me off at work and then he went on to work,” she said.

As routine as the lunch was, it now seems like a fateful one to Joseph, 52. The couple had been very careful about isolating. She believes her husband, 53, came in contact with the virus that day at an emergency meeting with a bunch of other bus drivers. Within a few weeks, 1 in 8 Regional Transit Authority employees would test positive in a COVID-19 outbreak that led to the deaths of three workers.

Antonio Travis is 27 years old and the picture of health.

Days after that lunch, Albert Joseph left work early, suffering from fevers, chills and a high fever.

His wife snapped into action. “I figured he had the virus,” she said.

Katrina Joseph moved to the guest room. She began wearing a mask in the house, pulled out new toothbrushes for everyone, wiped down doorknobs, washed her hands and served food on paper plates.

Even so, the whole family became infected. For the next few weeks, the couple and their daughter, Danielle, 19, were all bedridden in separate rooms of their house in Chalmette. They spiked 104-degree fevers. Sometimes, they collapsed on the way to the bathroom. On four separate occasions, when fingertip monitors indicated dangerously low oxygen levels, they called 911, though the ambulances twice left empty.


Albert Joseph, a bus driver for RTA, poses in his home in Chalmette, La., Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. The Joseph family suffered coronavirus at the same time.

Once, paramedics took an oxygen-deficient Albert Joseph to the hospital for a four-hour stay. The second time, they carried out a very weak Katrina Joseph. She spent eight days in Ochsner Health Center in St. Bernard Parish, “lying there, knowing that I had this disease that was killing people all around me.”

The Josephs’ story is hardly unusual. But leading researchers say their experience and others like it offer a window into why the coronavirus has hit Black communities particularly hard across the nation. Many frontline workers who continued to work through the pandemic were exposed on the job and brought the virus home to infect entire households.

Workplace spread a driver

Within Louisiana, Blacks have accounted for nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths to date, despite making up a little less than a third of state residents. The biggest reason for the coronavirus’ cruel toll in Black communities seems to be its outsized infection rate there: when compared with White Louisiana residents, Black Louisianans have been three times as likely to contract the virus.

101120 Racialized Pandemic Work Risks

A new, much-discussed study concluded that the disproportionate spread in the Black community originates in

Read more

COVID-19 Community Exposure Reported At Hudson Restaurant

CONCORD, NH — At least 17 recent cases of COVID-19 are connected to a pizza restaurant that hosts karaoke in Hudson, according to a health alert.

Patrons of Fat Katz Food and Drink on Derry Road in Hudson, between Oct. 2, and Oct. 9, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

“DHHS has identified at least 17 cases of COVID-19 associated with this outbreak,” the State Joint Information Center said Friday, “which includes one individual who went to the establishment while aware of their COVID-19 diagnosis when they were supposed to be on isolation, and a second person who went to the establishment when they were knowingly supposed to be on quarantine — both of whom potentially exposed others.”

In a Facebook post on Oct. 9, the restaurant said a part-time employee had tested positive and the establishment would be closed after staffers were tested. The post stated the restaurant was waiting for a response from health authorities at the state level.

However, state health officials said, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office was investigating “multiple violations” of New Hampshire Food Service guidance at Fat Katz.

While health officials said they had conducted extensive contact tracing with this outbreak, they were making the public notification because they believe there were others who were potentially exposed but not reached through the tracing process.

Anyone who visited the restaurant earlier this month should get tested, state officials said.

Don’t miss updates about coronavirus precautions and information in New Hampshire as they are announced. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters.

State Health Information

COVID-19 can present with a wide range of symptoms including fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of taste or smell. Any person who develops new symptoms should stay home, limit their contact with others, immediately contact their healthcare provider and get tested for COVID-19. Guidance for self-quarantining is available here.

Whether or not you are experiencing symptoms, multiple testing options throughout the State are available to potentially exposed individuals. For persons without health insurance or a primary care provider, testing is available and can be scheduled by calling 603-271-5980 or through completing the online form located here. Other options for testing can be found here.

COVID-19 continues to circulate in our communities, so all people need to protect themselves and help prevent further community spread, by:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

  • Avoid close contact with others. When outside your home, keep a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others. This is known as social distancing.

  • Wear a cloth face covering that covers your mouth and nose to protect others when in public areas.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a

Read more