Health Officials Let Workers Stay on Job Even With Positive Test

    16 January 2022

    As more people around the United States test positive for COVID-19, leaders of healthcare organizations and hospitals are permitting workers to stay on the job even with a positive test.

    Around the country, nurses and other healthcare workers are still coming to work if they have the virus.

    In the U.S., about 700,000 people each day are testing positive for the virus. This is partly due to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

    Medical official tests child, 5, for COVID in California on Jan 6, 2022 (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
    Medical official tests child, 5, for COVID in California on Jan 6, 2022 (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

    There is a daily average of about 110,000 Americans in the hospital with COVID-19. One year ago, when infections were at their highest, there were 124,000 people per day in the hospital because of the virus.

    The rise in cases comes at the same time many hospital workers are home because they are sick or tested positive.

    In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said healthcare workers who have no symptoms after seven days can return to work. They must also have a negative test. However, the time can be reduced if hospitals need more workers.

    In Phoenix, Arizona, a large company that runs hospitals said workers could ask to come back to work if they feel well.

    The company said: "We are doing everything we can to ensure our employees can safely return to work."

    In California, hospital staff members can come to work if they do not have symptoms. The state's public health department said workers who test positive can be permitted to work with patients who also test positive. The workers must wear face coverings that offer extra protection.

    Jan Emerson-Shea is a spokeswoman for the California Hospital Association. She said hospitals may or may not put the new rules in place. She added that they are likely to have more patients than they can care for in coming days.

    A nurses group in California recently said it did not think the state's idea was a good one. It would lead to more people getting sick, the group said.

    In Miami, Florida, workers who test positive at Jackson Memorial Hospital are staying away for five days. The chief medical officer is Dr. Hany Atallah. He said "we still have to be very careful to prevent spread in the hospital."

    Last week, France said healthcare workers could continue working with mild symptoms.

    I'm Dan Friedell.

    Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on a report by the Associated Press.

    Are people with positive virus tests permitted to come to work where you live? Tell us in the Comments Section and visit 51VOA.COM.


    Words in This Story

    positive n. the result from a test that shows that a particular germ, condition, or substance is present

    symptom n. a change in the body or mind which indicates that a disease is present

    mild adj. not harsh or severe

    variant n. something that is different in some way from others of the same kind

    peak adj. at the highest point or level

    ensure v. to make (something) sure, certain, or safe