An Analysis of Risk Factors for Household Spread of COVID-19 in a Hispanic Population Associated with Meat Packing Plants Open Access

Schneider, Zoe (Spring 2021)

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Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. This analysis aims to further examine the household-level risk factors in Hispanic people in Georgia who are connected with the meat processing industry and compare them to risk factors in the general population.


Methods: Hispanic employees at a poultry plant who tested positive for COVID-19 and their families received follow-up PCR and antibody tests 1 month after their first positive test. Odds ratios were calculated for current and/or prior infection and all individual level risk factors collected. Multiple linear regression was used to determine household risk factors predicting the percent of individuals in a household with a positive PCR or antibody test result. 


Results: 49 out of 194 (25%) employees at a meat processing plant tested positive for COVID-19 in May 2020. The odds of working in a meat processing plant among individuals who tested positive was 4 times the odds among those who tested negative (OR= 4.10, 95% CI 1.62 - 10.93). No other variables were significantly associated with infection at the individual level. Household spread from an incident case was more common for those with higher household density (ß = 0.43, p-value = 0.003) and fewer children under 18 in the household (ß = -0.59, p-value = 0.02).  


Discussion: Identification and consideration of population-specific risk factors is essential when responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and making appropriate recommendations. The risk factors for this population are similar to risk factors identified in previous studies, but higher average household density and working in a meat processing plant contributed to a higher risk of household and individual spread of COVID-19 from an incident case in this population in comparison with the general population.


Table of Contents

Introduction………. 1

Methods …………. 3

Results …...……… 5

Discussion ………. 7

References ..….… 11

Tables …………… 13

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