H.C. Maltezou, T.V. Giannouchos, A. Pavli, P. Tsonou, X. Dedoukou, M. Tseroni, K. Papadima, D. Hatzigeorgiou, N.V. Sipsas, K. Souliotis

Background: Healthcare personnel (HCP) are at increased risk of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the aetiological agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Aim: To estimate the costs related to SARS-CoV-2 exposure and infection among HCP in Greece.

Methods: Data were retrieved from the national database of SARS-CoV-2 infections and from the database of HCP exposed to patients with COVID-19. A cost-of-illness analysis was performed to estimate total, direct and indirect costs.

Results: In total, 254 HCP with COVID-19 and 3332 HCP exposed to patients with COVID-19 during the first epidemic wave were studied. Of the 254 HCP with COVID-19, 49 (19.3%) were hospitalized (mean length of hospitalization 11.6 days) and four were admitted to intensive care units (mean duration 10.8 days). Overall, 1332 (40%) exposed HCP had a mean duration of absenteeism of 7.5 days, and 252 (99.2%) HCP with COVID-19 had a mean duration of absenteeism of 25.8 days. The total costs for the management of the two groups were estimated at V1,735,830 (V772,890 Euros for HCP with COVID-19 and V962,940 for exposed HCP). Absenteeism accounted for a large proportion of the total costs (80.4% of all expenditures), followed by costs for reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and hospitalization (10.2% and 6.5% of all expenditures, respectively).

Conclusions: COVID-19 is associated with increased rates and duration of absenteeism among HCP. Indirect costs, particularly absenteeism, are the major driver of total costs.

Journal of Hospital Infection, 114, 126-33, 2021