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COVID-19

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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COVID-19

Biden Says He Doesn’t Think COVID Is ‘Here To Stay’

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Joe Biden

On Friday, President Biden said he doesn’t think that COVID-19 is here to stay, but added that he does think the virus will remain around the world.

“No, I don’t think COVID is here to stay, but having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
“COVID as we’re dealing with it now is not here to stay, the normal doesn’t have to be. We have so many more tools we developed and we continue to develop that can contain COVID and other strains of COVID,” he added.

Biden’s comments come shortly after six of his former health advisers, who helped him with the COVID-19 pandemic during his presidential transition, published three opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association urging Biden to change his strategy in responding to COVID-19 to one accepting that the virus was here to stay and learning how to live with it.

“They say the first thing the administration needs to do is take a broader vision, by recognizing that Covid-19 is here to stay. In one article, Dr. Emanuel and two co-authors — Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University — pointedly note that in July, Mr. Biden proclaimed that ‘we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,’ which in retrospect was clearly not the case,” The New York Times reported.

Biden’s comments suggest he has not yet listened to the advice of these experts, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened to reaching over 1 million new daily cases.

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COVID-19

Former COVID Advisory Board tells Biden corona now ‘one of several circulating respiratory virus’ like flu

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Covid-19

Doctors who once advised President Biden on how to handle the coronavirus are now telling him to change his strategy via a series of published articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The six doctors, Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Michael Osterholm, Celine Gounder, David Michaels, Rick Bright and Luciana Borio were members of the advisory board that worked with Biden during his transition period before taking office.

“As the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates, COVID-19 is here to stay” and therefore Biden’s national strategy must be “updated.”

“The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, eg, the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appears to confer lifelong immunity,” they wrote.

“Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection.”

The “new normal,” they explained, should be “recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”

The doctors also pointed out there are many treatments with varying levels of effectiveness such as remdesevir and dexamethasone, monoclonal antibody treatment, and oral treatments like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid.

“Finally,” Fox News reports, they said it is imperative “to rebuild trust in public health institutions and a belief in collective action in service of public health.”

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