COVID-19-related hospital admission in spouses of partners in at-risk occupations

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OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to quantify the risk of COVID-19-related hospital admission in spouses living with partners in at-risk occupations in Denmark during 2020-21.

METHODS: Within a registry-based cohort of all Danish employees (N=2 451 542), we identified cohabiting couples, in which at least one member (spouse) held a job that according to a job exposure matrix entailed low risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (N=192 807 employees, 316 COVID-19 hospital admissions). Risk of COVID-19-related hospital admission in such spouses was assessed according to whether their partners were in jobs with low, intermediate or high risk for infection. Overall and sex-specific incidence rate ratios (IRR) of COVID-19-related hospital admission were computed by Poisson regression with adjustment for relevant covariates.

RESULTS: The risk of COVID-19-related hospital admission was increased among spouses with partners in high-risk occupations [adjusted IRR (IRRadj)1.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-2.2], but not intermediate-risk occupations (IRRadj 0.97 95% 0.8-1.3). IRR for having a partner in a high-risk job was elevated during the first three pandemic waves but not in the fourth (IRRadj 0.48 95% CI 0.2-1.5). Sex did not modify the risk of hospital admission.

CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 transmission at the workplace may pose an increased risk of severe COVID-19 among spouses in low-risk jobs living with partners in high-risk jobs, which emphasizes the need for preventive measures at the workplace in future outbreaks of epidemic contagious disease. When available, effective vaccines seem essential.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian journal of work, environment & health
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)193-200
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • Male, Female, Humans, COVID-19/epidemiology, Spouses, SARS-CoV-2, Occupations, Hospitals

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