The California Nurses Association (CNA) condemns the decision by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to let asymptomatic health care workers who test positive for Covid-19 or have been exposed to the virus and are asymptomatic return to work immediately without isolation or testing.
“Governor Newsom and our state’s public health leaders are putting the needs of health care corporations before the safety of patients and workers,” said CNA President Cathy Kennedy, RN. “We want to care for our patients and see them get better – not potentially infect them. Sending nurses and other health care workers back to work while infected is dangerous. If we get sick, who will be left to care for our patients and community?”
Eliminating the isolation time and sending asymptomatic or exposed health care workers to work will guarantee more preventable transmission, infections, hospitalizations, and death. By doing all this, Newsom and CDPH are in effect guaranteeing more transmission.
“We must protect patients and keep nurses healthy and safe on the front lines,” said Kennedy.
Nurses demand that CDPH rescind its guidance, which is in effect from Jan. 8, 2022 until Feb. 1, 2022.
California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the nation with 100,000 members in more than 200 facilities throughout California and more than 175,000 RNs nationwide.
According to the Guidance:
All Facilities Letter (AFL) Summary
- The purpose of this AFL is to provide hospitals and SNF with updated guidance on:
- Exposure risk assessment and work restriction for asymptomatic HCP with SARS-CoV-2 exposures (quarantine)
- Work restrictions for HCP diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection (isolation)
- This revision incorporates updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages.
- Pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 14126.033 a SNF’s receipt of the annual increase in the weighted average Medi-Cal reimbursement rate may be conditioned on the facility’s good faith compliance with CDPH AFLs related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, as a result the recommendations included in this AFL are requirements for SNFs.
- From January 8, 2022 until February 1, 2022, HCP who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 and are asymptomatic, may return to work immediately without isolation and without testing, and HCPs who have been exposed and are asymptomatic may return to work immediately without quarantine and without testing. These HCPs must wear an N95 respirator for source control.