The agency assessed data from the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET). Of over 6,000 adults who were hospitalized with coronavirus between March to late May, 5.9% were health care workers.
Almost one-third of the hospitalized health care workers were nurses. In total, over 36% of health care personnel worked in nursing-related jobs, including certified nursing assistants.
“Nurses are frontline workers and might be at particular risk for exposure because of their frequent and close patient contact, leading to extended cumulative exposure time,” according to the CDC report.
Of all the health care personnel, nearly 90% had at least one underlying condition, and obesity was the most common at 73%. Nearly one-third of the workers required intensive care, and 4% died.
Nurses make up a significant proportion of health care workers in the U.S. The CDC noted that, in 2019, registered nurses comprised about one-third of health care practitioners.
Serious cases of COVID-19 among health care workers at risk of transmission “could decrease the workforce capacity of the health care system,” the CDC wrote.
The agency stressed the importance of face masks while inside health care facilities to lower the risk of virus transmission. Eye protection was advised during patient contact in areas with elevated community virus spread.
The data had limitations, including how it was unknown whether workers were infected in the workplace or out in the community.