Extreme measure: due to lack of personnel, US hospitals ask their doctors to work even if they have Covid

WASHINGTON.- Various health authorities around the North American country They are allowing their nurses and workers to continue in their jobs even if they are infected with Covid-19. This measure was taken by states such as California to face the wave of infections that the omicron variant has caused.

In this file photo taken on December 4, 2020, healthcare worker Demetra Ransom comforts a patient in the Covid-19 room at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas.Mark Felix – AFP

Health workers who are infected with coronavirus and feel empowered to continue working must meet one condition: have mild symptoms or be asymptomatic. This is required by hospitals in Rhode Island Y Arizona to alleviate the shortage of medical personnel and the increase in cases. The high rate of infections by omicron variant has led the United States to have up to 700,000 new cases per day on average, exceeding the numbers registered precisely a year ago.

FILE - The omicron variant has generated an increase in infections in the United States.  On average, 110 thousand people are infected daily.  (AP Photo / Seth Wenig, File)
FILE – The omicron variant has generated an increase in infections in the United States. On average, 110 thousand people are infected daily. (AP Photo / Seth Wenig, File)Seth Little – AP

For now, and according to the recommendation of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month, health workers with symptoms can return to work after seven days with a negative test, but this isolation can be shorter in case of shortage of personnel, and the health center in which they work considers it.

In California, workers who are infected with Covid-19, and remain in their jobs They must use extra protection to avoid contagion of the virus in health centers: they will use N95 chinstraps, and they can only be assigned to treat patients who have coronavirus.

“What we know is that hospitals are expecting many more patients in the days to come than they will be able to care for with current resources,” Jan Emerson-Shea, spokesperson for the California Hospital Association, told the AP agency. That is why there are health services that, although they have not implemented the measure, have it at hand in case of need.

Due to the high hospital demand, some health centers have decided to allow their workers to continue working even if they are infected with Covid-19 (NIAID-RML via AP)
Due to the high hospital demand, some health centers have decided to allow their workers to continue working even if they are infected with Covid-19 (NIAID-RML via AP)

In the case of Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, his chief medical officer, Hany Atallah, says that have not yet reached a breaking point, and that workers who are ill must comply with isolation of five days. “We still have to be very careful to prevent the spread in the hospital,” says Atallah, saying that, in fact, he is concerned about the action they are taking at other health centers across the United States.

Kevin Cho Tipton is a nurse at the Jackson Memorial in Miami and although he understands that other places are citing their workers even if they have Covid-19, he fears the potential risks, especially those that high-risk patients may suffer, such as transplanted. “Yes, omicron is less deadly, but we still don’t know much”, expresses.

In the United States, a record of hospitalizations for Covid-19 was reached yesterday –more than 136,604-, beating the 132,051 record set in January last year.

AP Agency

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