Incidence and Predictors of COVID-19 Infection in Prison Healthcare Workers

J Occup Environ Med. 2023 Jul 1;65(7):573-579. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002836. Epub 2023 Mar 7.


Objective: The aim of the study is to assess the predictors of SARS-CoV-2 infection among correctional healthcare workers (HCWs).

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review to describe the demographic and workplace characteristics of New Jersey correctional HCWs between March 15, 2020, and August 31, 2020, using univariate and multivariable analysis.

Results: Among 822 HCWs, patient-facing staff had the highest incidence of infection (7.2%). Associated risk factors include being Black and working in a maximum-security prison. There were few statistically significant findings due to small total numbers ( n = 47) that tested positive.

Conclusions: Correctional HCWs' challenging work environment creates unique risk factors for infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Administrative measures taken by the department of corrections may have a significant role in curbing the spread of infection. The findings can help focus preventive measures for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in this unique population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Prisons
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification
  • Young Adult