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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently announced dangerous guidance allowing asymptomatic health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 or who have been exposed to the virus and are asymptomatic to return to work immediately without isolation or testing.
The pandemic is not over. We are in the midst of a record-breaking surge of Covid-19 driven by the Omicron variant. California is running out of hospital beds, and nurses and other health care workers are already reporting extreme levels of moral distress and injury. It is unconscionable that CDPH allows infected asymptomatic workers back to work. I guess they want to accelerate the pandemic into the endemic status.
Any healthcare worker who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate for at least 5 days, whether symptomatic or not, or until their tests are negative. Eliminating the isolation time and sending, infected health care workers to work will guarantee the transmission of more infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. We have already had 111 deaths here in Mendocino County since the pandemic began.
Hospitals and clinics must provide daily screening for those exposed and recovering from COVID and provide protections like optimal PPE and notification to other health care workers of known exposures.
CDPH must rescind this new guidance in order to protect patients, and keep nursing colleagues healthy and safe on the front lines.
Robin Sunbeam, RN, MSN, PHN
PO Box 1133
Ukiah, CA 95482