The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections



The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.


Introduction: On March 6, 2020, the current ongoing pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), also known as COVID-19, reached the commonwealth of Kentucky. Within days, the first cases of infection and hospitalization were identified among healthcare workers (HCW) in Kentucky, other states in the U.S., and around the world. There is little information available regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the HCW population within this area. The objective of this study was to describe the baseline characteristics of hospitalized HCWs infected with COVID-19.

Methods: Data collection was performed as part of a retrospective study of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in any of the nine acute care hospitals in Louisville. COVID-19 infection was confirmed using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Descriptive statistics were performed on the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who had indicated healthcare as their occupation.

Results: Of the 700 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 from March 7 through July 1, 2020, 23 were HCWs. The mean age was 51 years, and 78% were female. The majority of hospitalized HCWs had comorbidities, including obesity (70%), hypertension (57%), hyperlipidemia (35%), and diabetes (26%). Common symptoms reported were fever (70%), dyspnea (78%), cough (78%), and fatigue (57%). Nine HCWs (39%) were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), and six (26%) developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Two (9%) patients developed a new, serious arrhythmia, two sustained cardiac arrest (9%), and two (9%) died in the hospital.

Conclusions: Older adult HCWs with underlying health conditions, such as obesity and hypertension, were more likely to be hospitalized and have severe in-hospital complications. One HCW death due to COVID-19 was identified in this small population. These findings can help to identify and strengthen approaches to protect HCWs from SARS-CoV-2 infection and from long-term effects of COVID-19.



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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