Coronavirus symptoms didn't keep most of these infected healthcare workers from jobs

About 64.6 percent of healthcare workers in Washington state who tested positive for the new coronavirus reported that they worked a median of two days while showing symptoms, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows.

Researchers examined all laboratory-confirmed novel coronavirus infections in healthcare personnel in King County, from Feb. 28 through March 13. Of 50 personnel identified, researchers interviewed 48.

Most of the workers (77.1 percent) performed direct patient care, while the remainder included administrative assistants, environmental service workers and maintenance workers. About half (47.9 percent) had chronic medical conditions. The healthcare personnel worked in different healthcare settings, including long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics and acute care hospitals.

Researchers found that the most common initial symptoms of COVID-19 among the healthcare workers were cough (50 percent), fever (41.7 percent) and myalgias or muscle aches (35.4 percent).

Nearly 17 percent of the workers did not report fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat as initial symptoms. The most common symptoms reported for this group were chills, muscle aches, a cold and malaise, a general feeling of discomfort or illness.

Of the 48 workers interviewed, 31 (64.6 percent) reported working one to 10 days, a median of two days, while showing symptoms of COVID-19.


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