COVID-19 Variant Network – Are healthcare workers at higher risk of COVID‑19 than other working adults?
To date, there have been 69,000 confirmed or probable cases of COVID‑19 in Canada. Healthcare workers are assumed to be at increased risk of infectious diseases, including SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2)/CoVID-19 compared to other working adults due to exposure to infective patients. However, no epidemiologic study has examined this assumption. This study is designed to determine incidence of SARS-CoV-2 in HCWs and other, non-healthcare working adults in other frontline service occupations. We will enrol 1640 people working in acute care hospitals (healthcare workers) and 820 people working in non-healthcare jobs from across Canada, including Edmonton, Toronto, Hamilton, Sherbrooke, and Halifax and follow them over 12 months to compare the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 over the 12-month follow-up, risk factors for infection, and several other outcomes in each group. Not only will this allow us to compare and contrast differences in the rates of infection but also in exposures to infective people from all areas of our lives, protective measures taken to reduce infection, and how those measures may affect the risk of infection. We will collaborate with researchers in the US and Puerto Rico, who are collecting similar information on healthcare and non-healthcare workers to determine the similarities and differences between countries and across sites. The results will inform optimal strategies for protecting the workforce, their families, and their patients/patrons.