SARS-CoV-2 exposures among healthcare workers in New York City

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has had a significant impact on hospitals, including the occupational health departments in charge of handling healthcare worker (HCW) staffing during high rates of exposure and infection of HCWs. HCWs who were exposed to a patient or community member infected with SARS-CoV-2 were required to isolate from work for a minimum of 14 days from the date of exposure. Aims: This study was aimed to assess the relative risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection following different types of workplace and community exposures. Methods: We analyzed the details of workplace and community exposures of HCWs to SARS-CoV-2 at Montefiore Medical Center in New York between 22 June 2020 and 22 November 2020. Results: Of 562 HCW SARS-CoV-2 exposures analyzed, 218 were from the community and 345 were from the workplace. Twenty-nine per cent of community exposures resulted in infection, which was significantly greater than workplace exposure infection (2%). Household community exposures resulted in a larger frequency of infection than non-household community exposures. Of the seven infections after workplace exposures, five had qualifying exposures to a co-worker and two were exposed to an infected patient during a non-aerosolized procedure. Conclusions: HCW exposure to SARS-CoV-2 continues to present staffing challenges to healthcare systems. Even with deviations from standard personal protective equipment protocol, workplace exposures resulted in low frequencies of infection. In our study, the primary source of HCW infection was exposure in the community. Our findings support investing in efforts to educate around continued masking and social distancing in the community in addition to interventions targeted at addressing vaccine hesitancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-251
Number of pages4
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • SARS-CoV-2
  • healthcare worker
  • hospital administration
  • occupational health
  • prevention and control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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