Health care workers may be less susceptible to COVID-19 infection than people in the communities they serve, according to surprising early data from an ongoing study at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian.
Of some 3,000 workers tested in May and June, only 1% had antibodies to the novel coronavirus in their blood, despite the fact that the Newport Beach hospital has cared for hundreds of COVID-19 patients.
That 1% is far lower than what has been found in wider communities. Some 4-6% of residents in Los Angeles, Santa Clara and Riverside counties had COVID antibodies when surveillance testing was done there over recent weeks and months.
“This is what surprises some people,” said Dr. Michael Brant-Zawadzki, principal investigator. “Despite the headlines you see saying health care workers are at higher risk of contracting the disease, we haven’t seen that. In fact, we’re seeing the reverse of that. The question is, why?”