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COVID-19: Healthcare Workers Not Showing Higher Rate Of Infection Than Public, Data Shows

A preliminary test of frontline healthcare employees found that first responders had a lower rate of COVID-19 infection.
A preliminary test of frontline healthcare employees found that first responders had a lower rate of COVID-19 infection. Photo Credit: ny.gov

Frontline healthcare workers in downstate New York are not being infected by novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at a higher rate than the general public, according to new data.

State officials tested more than 27,000 healthcare workers in 25 downstate hospitals to see how many workers had the antibodies indicating that they had tested positive for COVID-19 and then compared those numbers to the data from the general public.

The survey found that 6.8 percent of Westchester healthcare workers tested positive for the antibodies, compared to 13.8 percent of the general population. On Long Island, 11.1 percent of healthcare workers tested positive, as opposed to 11.4 percent of the public.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the new information “amazingly good news.”

“We were afraid of what would happen with our healthcare workers, and we’ve found that they’re being infected at about the same rate or lower than the general population,” he said. “That is amazingly good news, right?”

Cuomo stressed that it’s critically important to ensure that healthcare workers are provided with sufficient personal protective equipment, and to make sure that there isn’t another mad scramble for equipment and supplies for doctors and nurses if a second wave hits.

The governor added that the new numbers show that the measures New Yorkers have been taking are working, and that masks, gloves, and other PPE have been effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

“This just goes to show how important the masks, and the sanitizers, and the gloves are. They work,” he said. “They’re wearing the same gloves, masks, and gowns that we are. So we need to keep following the protocols because we’ve seen that they work.

According to the New York State Department of Health, 1,055,921 people have been tested, with 323,978 testing positive for COVID-19. There have been 20,597 COVID-19 deaths statewide since the outbreak began in March.

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