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Health Authorities in the US shorten COVID-isolation period for infected healthcare workers as surge in Omicron variant cases continues

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Posted: Sunday, December 26, 2021. 10:15 am CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its COVID-19 guidelines to shorten the isolation period for healthcare workers who have been infected by the virus, the Latin Post reports.

According to the updated guidelines, the CDC recommends that healthcare workers who are asymptomatic return to work after seven days and a negative test, saying that isolation time can be cut further if there are staffing issues, a report from the New York Post says.

Health care workers who have been fully vaccinated and received booster shots will also not be required to quarantine at home after high-risk exposures.

Director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, said in a statement that the guidelines were updated based on current information regarding COVID-19 including vaccination information as well as the burden that the virus is causing on healthcare facilities due to patient load and infected staff, the Associated Press noted in a news report.

The updated guidelines did not change the recommended 14-day isolation period for members of the public who become infected but are reevaluating that recommendation as research has shown that a typical patient may actually require less time in isolation.

The update of the CDC guidelines was preempted by Chief White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci announcing days earlier that the U.S. was considering shortening the 10-day quarantine period for asymptomatic health care workers.

The Omicron variant has become the dominant variant in the United States in a matter of weeks, now accounting for 73 percent of sequenced cases, a notable six times higher than it was just a week prior.

The level of patients being infected by the omicron variant has raised major concerns among officials and experts regarding the possibility of staff shortages in healthcare facilities, The Guardian reports.

Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, noted that the Omicron variant is significantly impacting the workforce. Benjamin said that hospital administrators may need to consider bringing in retired workers, even for a short period, to help with staff shortages.

 

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