New York state has reported a record surge in Covid-19 cases on Christmas eve driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant spreading through the US.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an alert to health care professionals across the country to prepare for a possible major surge in infections of COVID-19 due to the high transmissibility of the omicron variant.
Among the CDC’s contingency options is shortening the amount of time health care workers must self-isolate following a COVID-19 infection.
Under “conventional” conditions, health care facilities can allow asymptomatic personnel who were infected with COVID-19 to return to work after seven days and a negative test, regardless of vaccination status, according to the new CDC guidance. For health care personnel who were symptomatic, fever should have resolved without medications.
Under “crisis” conditions, health care workers can return to work after five days, if asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, as a last resort, without testing, the alert states. These health care personnel should wear a respirator or well-fitting face mask, even when they are in non-patient care areas, and facilities should consider assigning them duties that do not include care of immunocompromised patients.
The plan was put into place to mitigate potential staff shortages, according to the CDC.