Situation and Spatial Analysis of the COVID-19 Epidemic in Business Establishments: Comparison between the Delta and Omicron Variants in Thailand, July 2021–May 2022
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COVID-19 outbreaks in business establishments cause a stagnant economy. In Thailand, the COVID-19 situation in business establishments has never been investigated. This study aims to (1) describe the situation and (2) compare characteristics, including spatial patterns, of COVID-19 cases in business establishments between the Delta (July–December 2021) and Omicron (January–May 2022) predominant periods. A cross-sectional study was conducted using secondary data extracted from the Department of Disease Control’s database, which was linked to listed company and factory databases. The study population included all reported COVID-19 cases. The proportions of case characteristics between the delta and omicron dominant periods were compared using Pearson’s Chi-square test. Spatial autocorrelation was tested using Moran’s I statistics. During July 2021–May 2022, 443,448 COVID-19 cases were reported in business establishments. The proportions of cases in factories and construction camps decreased from 41.3% and 6.7% in the Delta dominant period to 14.4% and 1.7% in the Omicron dominant period, respectively. A high number of cases occurred in businesses operating food production, wholesale/retail, transportation, and accommodation. Clustering patterns were evident in the central and eastern regions of Thailand where many business establishments are located. Public health agencies should promote organizational COVID-19 prevention measures and increase worker’s awareness in high-risk industries.
Keywords: COVID-19, spatial autocorrelation, business establishments, Thailand
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