More and more health authorities around the USA are allowing nurses and other infected health care workers with mild or no symptoms to continue to work. Not only the hospitals are severely under pressure because of the rising number of coronavirus cases, but this problem is also worsening due to the increasing number of staff members not being able to work because they are getting infected with covid 19.
Covid 19 Affected Health Care Workers Shall Continue To Work
To reduce this pressure, the asymptomatic staff members, who have COVID-19 are allowed to work. This has been recently announced by California health authorities, Rhode Island hospitals, and Arizona hospitals.
An average of over 700,000 people are getting infected by this omicron variant per day. This is greater than the numbers that were coming in the previous year. Although the omicron variant is spreading faster and is infecting more people leading to severe shortening of staff members, it is apparently causing milder symptoms compared to the delta variant. To deal with the staff shortage, the Center for Disease Control and prevention decided to reduce the number of days the asymptomatic staff members are supposed to stay quarantined. France decided to do away with the quarantining of asymptomatic staff members altogether.
A memo has been sent to the staff members by Dignity Health, a major hospital operator in the Phoenix area, to request their managers to skip the quarantine if they are feeling well enough so that they can go back to work. This guideline may be soon implemented in California as well if the pressure on the hospital and the shortage of staff continue to increase. Dignity Health also stated that it is trying its level best to keep the patients and staff from catching covid 19. In California, employees are being hired from other agencies to fill up vacancies to reduce the critical shortage of staff. The health care workers who are infected shall continue to work with increased protection against transmission.
A spokesperson for the California Hospital Association stated that this new guidance was not asked for and the hospitals may not necessarily implement it but the number of covid cases will definitely increase in the upcoming days and they will do the best they can to care for the patients with whatever resources they have at their disposal. The spokesperson Jan Emerson Shea also stated that all the staff members who have been exposed to the infection are continuing to take care of the sick. This decision is being opposed by the California Nurse Association and they are expressing concern over the effect of this decision on the transmission of the virus further. This can potentially cause more infections and the number of cases may increase as a result.
The president of the nurse association stated that the state health leaders are putting the needs of the health care system before the safety of the patients. The nurses want to see their patients get better and this decision may put their safety in jeopardy. A psychiatric hospital in Rhode Island also allowed an asymptomatic, covid 19 positive staff member to return to work. The Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami is still keeping infected staff members away for five days because they are not under that much pressure but Kevin Cho Tipton, a nurse over there stated that five days are not enough no matter how desperate the hospitals are to get their staff back to work and it can still be very dangerous especially for those patients who are at a higher risk of infection. He further said that this omicron variant may appear to be less dangerous but enough data is not available to say that for sure.
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