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Sick Days Up for Some Essential Workers During COVID-19

Significant increases seen in personal care and service, health care support, production occupations

THURSDAY, July 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Increases in health-related workplace absenteeism were seen in April 2020 in personal care and service, health care support, and production occupations, according to research published in the July 10 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Matthew R. Groenewold, Ph.D., from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues present trends in absenteeism during October 2019 to April 2020, including March and April 2020, a period with rapidly accelerating transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

The researchers found that the prevalence of health-related workplace absenteeism was similar in March and April 2020 compared with their five-year baselines. Compared with occupation-specific baselines, absenteeism was significantly higher than expected in April among workers in several occupational groups that define or contain essential critical infrastructure workforce categories. In personal care and service (including child care workers and personal care aides), health care support, and production, there were significant increases in absenteeism.

"These findings are consistent with those from public health surveillance and field investigations suggesting that certain groups of workers might be at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection because of their work during the pandemic," the authors write.

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