Source: NwoReport

California is now permitting hospitals to force COVID-positive asymptomatic staff to operate as the state grapples with a surge of Omicron cases and staff shortages, as Governor Newsom deployed National Guard members to help at testing sites.

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“Hospitals have to exhaust all other options before resorting to this temporary tool. Facilities and providers using this tool, should have asymptomatic COVID-19 positive workers interact only with COVID-19 positive patients to the extent possible,” a statement issued by the California Department of Public Health on Saturday read.

The news sparked anger among supporters for health workers, who claim hospital staff have carried the weight of the pandemic on their shoulders and are now being put at stake, along with their patients.

“Healthcare

workers and patients need the protection of clear rules guided by strong science. Allowing employers to bring back workers who may still be infectious is one of the worst ideas I have heard during this pandemic, and that’s really saying something,” Bob Schoonover, President of SEIU California, told CBS Sacramento.

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced on Wednesday that “some facilities are going to be strapped” as the Omicron variants spike worsens the problem.

The Golden State has seen a seven-day average of 15,162 COVID-19 cases, with more than 6 million active cases reported in total. Infections have spiked almost 500percent in the last two weeks, and hospitalizations are now almost twice as high as in Christmas.

Approximately 40 percent of hospitals are predicted to face critical shortages. Kiyomi Burchill, a member of the California Hospital Association, announced that some hospitals have reported as much as one-quarter of their staff out with COVID-19.

“In the emergency departments, we do have patients that are literally stacked up 20 to 30 in some of the hospitals, waiting

for an open bed that will hopefully be available when we discharge patients,” Chris Van Gorder, President, and CEO of Scripps Health, told NBC.

The statement by California Department of Public Health stated: “The department is providing temporary flexibility to help hospitals and emergency services providers respond to an unprecedented surge and staffing shortages,”

“Hospitals have to exhaust all other options before resorting to this temporary tool. Facilities and providers using this tool, should

have asymptomatic COVID-19 positive workers interact only with COVID-19 positive patients to the extent possible.”

The guidance will be enforced until February 1 and does not need hospital staff to test negative or go into quarantine before returning to work.

Staffing shortages in California were exacerbated by Governor Gavin Newsom’s vaccine mandate last year, which asked health workers to get vaccinated or face termination.