LA health care workers urge county to not adopt CA's new asymptomatic COVID guidance

The California Department of Public Health released new guidance amid the rapid spread of the omicron variant.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Healthcare workers held a press conference in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday asking for tighter controls on testing and isolation periods for healthcare workers.

"They're heroes but they're exhausted and they are overwhelmed," said Service Employees International Union 721 president David Green.

The California Department of Public Health released new guidance over the weekend stating that asymptomatic, COVID-positive healthcare workers can return to work without isolation.

According to the California Department of Public Health, this guidance is effective through Feb. 1 and is due to staffing shortages.

"It is unethical to put vulnerable patients' lives on the line, to gamble that we don't pass the pathogen to them," said Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center nurse anesthetist Kelly Zhou.

These healthcare workers are asking the public to postpone doctors' appointments that are not urgent, and they're calling on the LA County Board of supervisors to step in.

"Keep the infected personnel at home," said Zhou.

LA County Board Supervisor Kathryn Barger provided the following statement:

"I appreciate the intent behind the State's responsive new guidelines to offer flexible solutions as we face increased demand for healthcare workers due to the COVID-19 surge.

However, I also clearly hear the concerns from our County's nurses about how soon they can come back to work after testing positive or being exposed to COVID-19.
The County's Department of Health Services has not adopted this guidance. I understand that the new guidance may serve as a possible solution should we reach dire circumstances. That said, the health and safety of our healthcare workers is very important which is why I will closely track this issue. My commitment remains to champion sensible, balanced and real-world solutions."

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