The California Division of Public Well being has advisable that every one normal acute-care hospitals within the state check healthcare employees weekly and check and monitor all sufferers being admitted.
In a letter despatched to hospitals Nov. 25, Deputy Director Heidi Steinecker mentioned hospitals ought to begin weekly testing on Dec. 7 of healthcare staff who’ve danger of unknown publicity to COVID-19, comparable to those that work in emergency departments or intensive care models, and together with environmental companies staff. Weekly testing of different healthcare staff ought to start Dec. 14. Any symptomatic staff ought to be examined instantly.
In an emailed assertion, the well being division mentioned that every one normal acute-care hospitals are required to submit a testing plan to their native licensing district by Dec. 7 however didn’t handle if there could be penalties for these that don’t.
Hospitals ought to use virus nucleic acid assessments for all sufferers. Antigen assessments ought to solely be used for symptomatic sufferers, until there’s a restricted provide of virus nucleic acid assessments. In that case, antigen assessments can be utilized for asymptomatic sufferers and ought to be repeated each three days, the state well being division mentioned.
Hospitals additionally ought to develop a plan for a way outcomes shall be used, the division mentioned. That features how outcomes shall be defined to staff; how outcomes shall be tracked and reported to native authorities; notify sufferers and staff with potential publicity; what to do about staff who refuse to be examined or cannot be examined; and deal with potential staffing shortages. The well being division mentioned staff typically shouldn’t work whereas in an isolation interval and deferred to CDC pointers on staffing shortages.
Jan Emerson-Shea, a spokesperson for the California Hospital Affiliation, mentioned the affiliation is ready for clarification from the state well being division on what the suggestions imply and if there shall be any sort of prioritizations for testing as a result of assets are strained.
“When you needed to check a half 1,000,000 individuals each week, that is a really massive pressure on hospital assets at the exact same time that we’re experiencing a surge in sufferers.” Emerson-Shea mentioned.
Individuals who could be doing the testing, nurses or these in medical labs, are wanted for medical care of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 sufferers, she mentioned.
“There are only a lot of stresses on the healthcare workforce,” she mentioned.
The California Nurses Affiliation referred to as the brand new suggestions a “large win” for nurses.
“That is a tremendous and welcome transfer,” mentioned Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, a Bay Space nurse and a president of California Nurses Affiliation and Nationwide Nurses United, a nationwide nurses union of which the California Nurses Affiliation is a component. “We applaud California for being a frontrunner in requiring this kind of testing program as a result of it’s desperately wanted to battle this virus. There are just too many asymptomatic individuals with COVID, and with out strong testing, our hospitals will stay facilities for spreading the illness as a substitute of facilities of therapeutic as they need to be.”
Cathy Kennedy, a Sacramento-area nurse, a president of California Nurses Affiliation and govt vp of Nationwide Nurses United, mentioned the testing “was a very long time coming.
“We nurses knew this was wanted and fought collectively to make it occur. Now hospitals in the remainder of the nation simply have to do the identical to get this virus beneath management,” Kennedy mentioned.
As of Nov. 29, California had recorded 1.2 million COVID-19 circumstances and 19,141 deaths, in accordance with the state COVID-19 dashboard.