Daylong waits in the emergency room. No one to answer the phones. No one to take out the trash. And more patients arriving each day. That’s the scene playing out at some hospitals across Southern California as the Omicron-fueled surge of COVID-19 contributes to a crippling shortage of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers according to Yahoo News.
While Omicron is causing significantly fewer serious illnesses than last year’s winter surge, the unprecedented number of people becoming infected has left the medical infrastructure on edge.
State officials are attempting to address California’s staffing shortage through a sweeping policy change that allows asymptomatic healthcare workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus to return to work immediately. The policy, set to remain in place through Feb. 1, is designed to keep many healthcare workers on the job at a time when hospitals are expecting more patients.
NCRA3 stated that Health care workers who test positive and are asymptomatic for COVID-19 are allowed to return to work, according to new guidelines announced on Saturday by the California State Department of Public Health. No quarantine or testing is required.
The latest rules go on to say that health care providers who have been “exposed and asymptomatic may return to work immediately without quarantine and without testing.” However, an N-95 respirator must be worn.”It’s a major disaster waiting to happen,” said Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, president of the California Nurses Association. “I think it’s callous and it’s putting our patients and ourselves in grave danger.”