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The New York State Nurses Association ‘Condemns’ The CDC’s Announced Emergency Guidance As ‘Potentially Dangerous For Health Care Workers’

Published Wednesday, December 29, 2021
by NYSNA News
The New York State Nurses Association ‘Condemns’ The CDC’s Announced Emergency Guidance As ‘Potentially Dangerous For Health Care Workers’

(ALBANY, NEW YORK) - New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) Executive Director and Registered Nurse (RN) Pat Kane, whose statewide Nurses Union represents more than 42,000 members, is condemning the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)'s recent emergency guidance as potentially dangerous for Health Care Workers and the communities they serve.

In a released statement, Kane said:

This guidance is inconsistent with proven science, vague and doesn't provide definitions or explain standards at a time when decision-making for health care systems is critical.

The CDC's "contingency” strategies for “when staffing shortages are anticipated,” allow vaccinated Health Care Workers who have higher risk exposures to continue to work and infected Health Care Workers to work after five days, “as long as they are well enough.”  

Health Care Worker infection rates are not being tracked and there's no substantial evidence behind the CDC changing this guidance, but there is a Health Care Staffing crisis the CDC cited as the justification for it.

We do know vaccination provides a spectrum of protection from infection depending on the type of vaccine, time since last dose, and immune status.

The CDC itself admits: “Allowing HCP with SARS-CoV-2 infection or higher-risk exposures to return to work before meeting the conventional criteria could result in healthcare-associated SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”

So it makes no sense not to take every measure which would reduce risk of Health Care Worker infection.

But the CDC changed these guidelines, without requiring all Health Care Workers be supplied with N95s, home testing kits or requiring portable HEPA filtration in areas like break rooms- measures that would protect Health Care Workers and their patients.

Not prioritizing the safety and retention of Health Care Workers from the beginning of the pandemic is what exacerbated staffing shortages.

That’s job #1 in pandemic response.

This guidance is only going to worsen the shortage and put our patients at risk.

Our Health Care Workers deserve better and our patients deserve better.

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