A recent outbreak
of COVID-19 at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, has highlighted the risk of health-care workers contracting the virus. At the time of this post 114 staff are in isolation and 3 patients have died.
A timely injection of new funding for University of Alberta researcher Nicola Cherry will help to expand her research on the impact of COVID-19 on health-care workers. She first started surveying doctors in Alberta in April while the number of cases were still on a steep increase. The initial goal was to look at the physical and mental impacts on doctors. With funding from the Canadian government’s Immunity Task Force, in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, she will be looking at all health-care workers in Canada. Part of the research will involve blood testing for COVID-19 to ensure the research team has an accurate and complete picture of the most at-risk workers.
This expanded study will develop coping strategies and safer working conditions for doctors, nurses, and support workers. Ultimately this will help make hospitals, clinics, and medical offices a safer place for staff and patients.
Nicola Cherry is a University of Alberta professor of medicine and tripartite chair of occupational health. She talked with freelance broadcaster Don Hill about what she hopes to learn from the 5,000 health workers recruited to date.