A new Beaumont Health study is highlighting the need to mask up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a press release, researchers followed more than 20,000 Beaumont Health employees across eight hospitals in Southeast Michigan.
Beaumont Health says workers who were exposed to COVID-19 patients with no masks on had an 18 percent risk of getting sick. With N95 masks on—that risk dropped to 10 percent.
The health care system also noted that for the workers who wore a mask and still got infected, nearly 30 percent were asymptomatic (40 percent for those who wore N95 masks).
“It’s nice to have proof masking really works,” said lead author of the research paper, Dr. Matthew Sims, director, Infectious Diseases Research, Beaumont Health in a press release. “Masks play a vital role in protecting people and can dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.”
According to Beaumont Health, nurses, phlebotomists and respiratory therapists had a higher rate of infection.
“The more time a person spends in close contact with an infected individual, the higher the risk of that person contracting the virus themselves. For example, doctors displayed a relatively low incidence of infection most likely due in large part to the fact that while they were working with patients, the duration of their direct contact with patients was limited,” Dr. Sims said in a press release.
The research findings were published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Beaumont Health said about 8.8 percent of participants were seropositive between April 13 and May 28, 2020, which means COVID-19 antibodies were present in their blood.
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