As state hospitals reach capacity and face staffing shortages, North Dakota will now allow healthcare workers to test positive for Kovid-19 who will continue to work in coronovirus units, officials announced this week Of.
Hospital administrators have called for extraordinary action, Governor Doug Bergam said at a press conference on Monday, and Interim State Health Officer Dirk Wilke amended the order to allow the new measure to take effect.
Now, North Dakota healthcare workers are allowed to continue treating Kovid-19 patients, even if they themselves tested positive for the virus.
“This only applies to Kovid-positive healthcare workers who do not have symptoms and are only allowed to work Kovid units around patients who already have the virus,” Bergam said.
The move comes as the state struggles to eliminate a health system overwhelmed by coronoviruses, with record-positive cases insisting hospitals operate at 100% capacity.
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“Our hospitals are now under heavy pressure,” said Bergam, who has been hospitalized for the past few days due to Kovid. [rose] By another 10 percent. This is 60 percent more than just four weeks ago. “
During the press conference, the governor moved each county in the state into the “high-risk” category, asking state residents to take the virus as seriously as “diabetes” or “heart disease”.
Covids follow the Center for Disease and Control’s “crisis capacity strategies” as being positive when hiring health workers who suspect health workers are positive or positive for return to work If there is a continuous staff shortage.
Bergam said this would not pose a significant risk for over-proliferation, as only patients with the virus would be exposed to COVID-positive healthcare workers.
But North Dakota Nurses Association chairwoman Tessa Johnson told NBC News that she is not so sure.
“What about bathrooms and break rooms and elevators and all those places? How are we going to keep those things clean? It is not realistic, ”she said.
Johnson, who is also the executive director at a senior long-term care facility, said staffing has been a constant challenge during the epidemic. “People are tired. People are emotional. People are stressed. People cannot take much physically, emotionally. “We are losing nurses.”
Johnson said that because of the risks and tolls a job gets, some nurses will be on unemployment – and the new measure allowing nurses to work when sick is “just going to make things worse.”
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“They are very concerned about common places,” Johnson said of the nurses with whom she is spoken. “Nurses are saying: ‘If we get positive at this point, we want to take a break. It’s a welcome thing. We’re tired, we’re overworking, we need the rest. So, I How can I be positive and come down with this disease and I will still continue to do my best? “
Sherry Miller, executive director of the North Dakota Nurses Association, reiterated these concerns. He said, it’s like a catch-22. Covid-positive, asymptomatic individuals are at risk of spreading due to functioning. “
Johnson said, “If we continue these patients, I honestly have no idea what else is the remedy other than asking positive nurses to provide positive care.”
Both Miller and Johnson say a better solution would be for the state to introduce a mask mandate to reduce transmission. With fewer patients, he said, there would be no need for Kovid-positive healthcare workers to continue working.
During Monday’s press conference, Bergam said that “there is no conclusive data on the statewide facade mandate” and that he would defer that decision to local municipalities.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to NBC News’ requests for comment.