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Rhode Island Hospitals Allow Option for COVID Positive Nurses to Work Due to Staffing Shortage

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Rhode Island
Rhode Island Hospital

A memo was sent out to all employees of Rhode Island’s Eleanor Slater Hospital with an interesting message. Due to employee shortages, “those who are exposed or have a positive Covid test but are asymptomatic” will be able to continue working “in crisis situations for staffing” so long as they wear N95 masks.

Eleanor Slater Hospital is a state run hospital which has implemented vaccine mandates for all health care workers. NBC 10 News reported hundreds of health care workers in the state were terminated as a result of needing to be fully vaccinated by October 1 of 2020. However, due to extreme staffing shortages, Eleanor Slater allowed 32 unvaccinated employees to remain on the job.

Allowing COVID positive nurses to continue to report for work is a far cry from a full vaccination mandate. Nonetheless, the hospital memo came shortly after the CDC updated its isolation and quarantine guidance.

Joseph Wendelken, a spokesperson from the Department of Health, told the Providence Journal “facility administrators should be using their clinical judgment in making staffing decisions. For example, a facility may opt for a COVID-19 positive worker to only care for COVID-19 positive patients.”

“For the general public, the updated guidance (which shortens the isolation and quarantine period in some instances) is reflective of science that indicates that most SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness,” Wendelken added.

Fox News reports “Workers at other hospitals and skilled nursing homes in the state who are ‘mildly symptomatic’ can also continue working if the facilities are facing a staffing crisis, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health.”

Any hospital that needs to allow a covid positive employee to work due to crisis staffing mode needs to notify the state Department of Health. Wendelken said so far hospitals have not needed to do so.

“No, no facility has reported to us yet that they are in a position that requires COVID-19 positive healthcare providers to be working. If a facility does reach that point, that information would be posted publicly so patients and families would be aware,” Wendelken told the Providence Journal.

One anonymous health care worker told the Journal that opening the option was the “right thing” to do because “all hospitals, [struggle] with staffing. We have no choice.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Janis McRant

    January 5, 2022 at 9:44 am

    Good. It doesn’t mean they even have COVID although there’s a chance they could infect the elderly. Insist on N95 masks (like they wear in the operating room), strong hand washing and even gowning with high risk patients.
    Get the out of the ER and geriatric, the ICU, the NICU and surgical floors. In pediatrics, the least likely patients to get sick. Younger people who are medical cases are another safe bet. Surgery with it’s exreme controls is another choice.Plus hospitals always need more Surg nurses. Establish a training program. Teaching nurse are another idea. Home health nurses only face 1-4 family members. Lots of opportunities for nurses in hospital. I was a nurse for 40 yearand worked in EVERY situation. And come on. Aren’t you hearing all the COVID regs being pulled back? We are a free people who will not submit to the FDA’s ’emegencyans’; in other words, the thoroughly untested access and boosters!

    Use them

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COVID-19

Biden Admin Announces First COVID Shots For Kids Under 5 Likely By June 21

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Covid-19 vaccination record card with syringe and vial

On Thursday, the Biden administration announced that children under 5 will be able to get their first COVID-19 vaccination doses as soon as June 21, if regulators authorize the shots for this age group as expected.

According to the Associated Press, White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha “said the Food and Drug Administration’s outside panel of advisers will meet on June 14-15 to evaluate the Pfizer and Moderna shots for younger kids. Shipments to doctors’ offices and pediatric care facilities would begin soon after FDA authorization, with the first shots possible the following week.”

Jha added that states can begin placing orders for the pediatric vaccines on Friday and the administration will initially have 10 million doses available.

“Our expectation is that within weeks every parent who wants their child to get vaccinated will be able to get an appointment,” Jha said. “At the end of the day we all want to move fast, but we’ve got to get it right.”

The news comes the week after Pfizer announced that three doses of their vaccine offers strong protection against COVID-19 in children under 5.  However, according to former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a third dose is unnecessary because the vaccines do not prevent infection.

“I think the decision matrix has changed around the vaccine for [ages] 6 months to 4 years old and so far as we know that the vaccine isn’t as protective at preventing infection,” Gottlieb said. “Previously, we had data showing that the childhood vaccine for 6 months to 4 years wasn’t as protective against infection as the adult vaccine.”

“That’s the reason why they pushed it out and asked for that third dose. But now, if the goal of the vaccine is to get baseline immunity in the kids to prevent really bad outcomes, and you’re really not using the vaccine as a tool to prevent infection in the first place, two doses could do that,” he added.

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COVID-19

Kamala Harris Tests Positive For COVID-19

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Kamala Harris

On Tuesday, the White House announced that Vice President Kamala Harris has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not currently showing symptoms.

“Today, Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on rapid and PCR tests,” said Kirsten Allen, press secretary to the vice president. “She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the Vice President’s residence. She has not been a close contact to the President or First Lady due to their respective recent travel schedules. She will follow CDC guidelines and the advice of her physicians. The Vice President will return to the White House when she tests negative.”

Harris wrote on Twitter that she was going to continue to isolate and is showing no symptoms.

“Today I tested positive for COVID-19. I have no symptoms, and I will continue to isolate and follow CDC guidelines. I’m grateful to be both vaccinated and boosted,” Harris tweeted.

Harris last reportedly saw President Biden at the Easter Egg Roll on April 18 before leaving for California, which she returned from on April 25.

The vice president has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and has received two booster shots, receiving the second booster on April 1.

“Yesterday I received my second COVID-19 booster shot,” Harris tweeted on April 2. “We know that getting vaccinated is the best form of protection from this virus and boosters are critical in providing an additional level of protection. If you haven’t received your first booster—do it today.”

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