The Los Angeles Times came out with a piece Wednesday titled, “With hospitals reeling, California tells COVID-positive medical workers to stay on the job.” With more and more patients arriving to the emergency room every day, forced to wait entire days to be seen, there is no one to answer the phones and no one to take out the trash.
Due to the Omicron-fueled surge, healthcare workers are calling out sick in droves, and has “left the medical infrastructure on edge.” As a result, California, and other state’s officials are examining a “Sweeping policy change that allows asymptomatic healthcare workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus to return to work immediately, without isolation or testing.”
Currently, the policy will remain in place through February 1st to avoid staffing shortages. The California Department of Public Health said because hospitals are reaching capacity, providing essential care is extremely compromised.
“Given those conditions, the department is providing temporary flexibility to help hospitals and emergency services providers respond to an unprecedented surge and staffing shortages” said the agency.
On Tuesday, nurses and representatives with the SEIU 721 union spoke out against the measure outside the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting in downtown to L.A. The California Nurses Association also said it planning a “day of action” for Thursday to condemn the state’s decision.
“It is absolutely infuriating that Democrats turned our nation upside down, harmed our children and may have even allowed the Democrats to steal an election creating these mandates, only to be forced to throw it all out the window on a whim because they did not work” says Sara Carter
“When President Trump was questioning these things, when I would question these things, when any sane person would question these things, the Democrats tried to make everyone look like they wanted to kill their grandmother and that we were conspiracy theorists” adds Carter.
“Is the situation ideal? No,” said Dr. Robert-Kim Farley, an epidemiologist and infectious-diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “Is it the lesser of the two evils of having no one to care for patients, versus having staff caring for them that may have COVID? Yes, it’s the lesser of two evils.”
The L.A. Times adds, “Kim-Farley said the policy is a recognition of the significant strain hospitals are experiencing amid an increased number of patients and decreased number of staff. The chances of transmission from an asymptomatic worker are minimal, he said, particularly since he or she would be practicing precautions, including wearing high-grade medical masks.”
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Freedom in the UK: Johnson ends ‘all Covid measures’ including mask wearing
The United Kingdom is enjoying a huge announcement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced “the end of all Covid measures introduced to combat the Omicron variant – compulsory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, guidance to work from home and vaccine certificates – from next week” reports The Guardian.
For those with coronavirus, the legal requirement for them to self-isolate will also be allowed to lapse when the regulations expire on March 24. Johnson also announced an immediate end for students to wear masks at secondary schools.
“From tomorrow we will no longer require face masks in classrooms and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas,” Johnson told the Commons.
“In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”
The Prime Minister said Covid data was “showing that time and again this government got the toughest decisions right” and that plan B rules that were put in place in December could all be lifted from next Thursday, the day after a pre-existing review point.
The Guardian notes Britain had expected Johnson would soon be ending work-from-home guidance and the mandate to show a certificate proving vaccination or proof of a recent negative Covid test. However, the immediate lifting of mandatory mask rules will “come as a surprise to some.”
Johnson is receiving some push back from some teaching and health unions. The general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said ministers would “regret sending the wrong signal to the public for political expediency”.
Joint general secretary of the National Education Union Mary Bousted said, “While the trend amongst secondary aged children is down, it is however uncertain, due to the short time schools have been back since the Christmas holidays, that this trend will continue. Such uncertainty could lead to a pronounced risk of increased disruption with children and staff having to isolate.”
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