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California hospitals. (Photo: hcai.ca.gov)

Newsom Admin Allows Hospitals to Force COVID-Positive Healthcare Employees to Work if Asymptomatic

Move comes after the firing of thousands of unvaccinated healthcare workers

By Katy Grimes, January 10, 2022 7:01 am

This story has been edited to include comment from CDPH and to clarify that the CDPH is not forcing healthcare workers back but rather is allowing hospitals to do so.

In addition to unveiling a proposed $2.7 billion COVID-19 Emergency Response Package, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s California Department of Public Health issued a confusing new guidance allowing hospitals and health networks to force COVID-postive healthcare workers to continue working if they are asymptomatic. Healthcare workers don’t have to isolate or test negative and can immediately return to work if they are asymptomatic – even in skilled nursing facilities.

This comes after firing thousands of unvaccinated California healthcare employees. Kaiser Permanente suspended more than 2,000 unvaccinated employees in October and said those who still have not been vaccinated will be terminated this month.

“The department is providing temporary flexibility to help hospitals and emergency services providers respond to an unprecedented surge and staffing shortages. Hospitals have to exhaust all other options before resorting to this temporary tool. Facilities and providers using this tool, should have asymptomatic COVID-19 positive workers interact only with COVID-19 positive patients to the extent possible,” the health department said in a statement, according to NBC Bay Area. The CDPH does not yet have this on its website.

The CDPH says:

“We are extremely grateful to all the health care workers across California who have worked tirelessly over the course of the pandemic in support of Californians impacted by COVID-19. While vaccines continue to protect against serious illness, hospitals are reaching capacity and staffing shortages are making it difficult to treat those who need essential care. Given those conditions, the department is providing temporary flexibility to help hospitals and emergency services providers respond to an unprecedented surge and staffing shortages. Hospitals have to exhaust all other options before resorting to this temporary tool. Facilities and providers using this tool, should have asymptomatic COVID-19 positive workers interact only with COVID-19 positive patients, to the extent possible, and ensure the workers are always wearing N-95 respirators.”

The representative from CDPH directed California Globe to the All Facilities Letter it relied on for guidance:

“During this time, HCPs who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and are asymptomatic may return to work immediately without isolation and without testing, and HCPs who have been exposed and are asymptomatic may return to work immediately without quarantine and without testing. These HCPs must wear an N95 respirator for source control. Facilities implementing this change must have made every attempt to bring in additional registry or contract staff and must have considered modifications to non-essential procedures.”

The representative pointed out that the language reads “may return” rather than “must return.” True enough, however none of that challenges the Globe’s central assertion, which is that the hospitals themselves are free to insist, with the apparent endorsement of CDPH, that healthcare workers who test positive must indeed return to work.

Confusing the guidance even more, workers who have not received a booster by January 7, 2022 are considered unvaccinated by the CDPH, according to an updated guidance.

Dental offices are not included in this Order.

The CDPH acknowledges that California the first state to allow COVID-positive healthcare employees to work: “We are not aware of another state with such comprehensive requirements.”

The original CDPH mandate addressed if people exempt from vaccination need to be tested if they have had COVID in the last 90 days:

“Workers meeting qualified exemptions from the vaccination requirement, who have recovered from a diagnosis of COVID-19 in the last 90 days, and remained asymptomatic, do not need to submit to testing until after 90 days has expired but must self-monitor for symptoms and continue to follow all other infection control requirements, including masking, as stated in the July 26 Order. Workers must provide documentation of previous diagnosis from a healthcare provider or confirmed laboratory results to refrain from testing. Workers must immediately follow self-isolation guidelines and resume testing if new COVID-19 symptoms occur during the 90 days post-infection.”

The CDPH says in the mandate booster-eligible workers who have not yet received their booster must be in compliance by no later than February 1, 2022. For those not yet eligible for a booster, they must be in compliance no later than 15 days once they become eligible for a booster.

What facilities are impacted by the order?

The following health care facilities will be impacted by the Order:

  • General Acute Care Hospitals
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities (including Subacute Facilities)
  • Intermediate Care Facilities
  • Acute Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Adult Day Health Care Centers
  • Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and PACE Centers
  • Ambulatory Surgery Centers
  • Chemical Dependency Recovery Hospitals
  • Clinics & Doctor Offices (including behavioral health, surgical)
  • Congregate Living Health Facilities
  • Dialysis Centers
  • Hospice Facilities
  • Pediatric Day Health and Respite Care Facilities
  • Residential Substance Use Treatment and Mental Health Treatment Facilities
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12 thoughts on “Newsom Admin Allows Hospitals to Force COVID-Positive Healthcare Employees to Work if Asymptomatic

  1. Meanwhile, children who have the sniffles have to be quarantined for 5-10 days depending on the school district.
    These capricious rules are nonsensical but we all ready knew that. One of the main reasons health facilities are overwhelmed is because they will not allow nurses and doctors with natural immunity to return to work because they chose not to get the shot . In an act of desperation they now will allow Covid19 test positive workers to return.
    The narrative that has been pushed for the last year is cracking they just will not ADMIT it.

  2. This is all going to backfire on Dems. Please don’t let that happen!! Use the science and change with the science. Seems we’re reacting to 8 months back all the time. California has so many brilliant scientists whose info is just being wasted.

  3. So the clot-shots have enough people sickened that they need to bring back the vaccine-free, who NEVER should have been furloughed for a “virus” with a 99.5% survival rate…..

    When do the Nuremberg 2.0 trials begin???

  4. Not enough disease so Newsomolini is actively spreading it. I wonder what the Noisome worshipping troll here has to say about this.

  5. Gruesome and the Gang CREATED all the panic about COVID so now they have everyone who has a tickle in his throat showing up at E.R.s. and otherwise causing problems that the infrastructure can’t handle. Because false positives are likely common for tests done on asymptomatic people (which test is nuts in and of itself) I don’t think it’s a problem if asymptomatic people return to work. Asymptomatic people are not ill and are not spreaders, despite what we’ve had drummed into our heads for the last two years. And because we know these leftist maniacs are NEVER going to admit they are wrong it’s foolish to expect it. Thus if this latest event and the resulting leftist desperation is the way by which we start to normalize healthy workers returning to work as they should, then I’m okay with it.

  6. According to the CDC, one might test positive for 3 months or longer after infection. Obviously, those individuals are no longer contagious and able to work.

    1. Exactly, Stacy —– thanks so much for bringing that up. You can only imagine what a mess this is creating when people have to produce a negative test to be able to go back to work or to do any of a number of other things. One of the go-to truth doctors said some time ago that the highly-cycled PCR tests that came up positive were picking up a dead virus leftover from a cold or other corona virus that had no chance of causing illness. She compared it to finding a hair in a room that had not been occupied for months and saying that the person it once belonged to was still in the room.

      The bottom line is that if you are not symptomatic you are not obviously not ill and neither are you contagious to others. To say you are is all part of the misinformation and confusion the politicians and bureaucrats have been sowing here. And the medical industrial complex is going along with it!

      1. Another odd fact, my son -in-law had COVID and was required to have a negative test to return to work. He kept testing because he was not sick. He finally called the Department of Health. They told him to quit testing publicly because it messes up “their numbers.” They said go buy a test at Walgreens. Hmmm, boy my mind went crazy with that information. 1) I guess our great government employees can only count positive tests and are unable to differentiate between people therefore positive case numbers once again are inflated. 2) $$$$

        1. Wow, Stacy, how do you like that? “It messes up their numbers!” What are they saying? As if we didn’t know…
          Multiply your son-in-law by a few million and now you know why the “case numbers” (AKA “positive tests”) are so inflated. And YES, $$$$.
          It probably needs to be repeated at this point that each time someone takes a test it is counted as one more “case.” One person having to take five tests that come up positive counts as five “cases.” With the testing mania that is happening now (in the millions), it is all ripe for hyper-inflated “case”-reporting and super-ultra-fear-mongering! Sigh….

          1. Exactly were my thoughts Showndtell. I multiplied my son in laws 5 positive tests in 10 days to all of America. Ding ding ding…..I was shocked they told him that to begin with.

  7. So because of staffing shortages they caused in order to keep the patients, staff safe from the unvaxxed who might spread the virus they are going to allow workers who are positive with the virus but don’t show symptoms to work and possibly expose all those same people in the hospitol to the virus supposedly are protecting them from by firing the unvaxxed. Lol. We are letting people who literally are mentally ill govern us. We must be as insane as they are for allowing this craziness.

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