The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning to healthcare professionals across the country to prepare for a potential large increase in infections from COVID-19 due to the high transmissibility of the omicron variant.
One of the CDC’s unforeseen options is to shorten the time health workers must self-isolate after a COVID-19 infection.
Under the new CDC guideline, under “conventional” conditions, healthcare facilities can return asymptomatic personnel infected with COVID-19 after seven days and a negative test, regardless of vaccination status. For medical personnel who were symptomatic, fever should have cleared up without medication.
An employee, left, rests for a second between patients, while another person, right, is tested for COVID-19 at a testing site in Farragut Square, Dec. 23, 2021, just steps from the White House in Washington.
Under “crisis” conditions, health workers can return to work after five days, if asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, as a last resort, without testing, the warning said. These healthcare personnel should wear a respirator or properly fitted face mask, even when in non-patient care areas, and facilities should consider assigning them duties that do not include caring for immunocompromised patients.
The plan is designed to mitigate potential staff shortages, the CDC said.
-ABC News’ Sony Salzman