The Rhode Island Department of Health said that healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19 can return to work if their facility is facing a staffing crisis.
“Also, facility administrators should be using their clinical judgment in making staffing decisions. For example, a facility may opt for a COVID-19 positive worker to only care for COVID-19 positive patients,” Health Department spokesman Joseph Wendelken told the Providence Journal on Saturday.
Rhode Island is currently experiencing a high rate of transmission with a 12.2% positive rate with 3049 positive cases on December 29th, the last day data is available.
Rhode Island’s new policy has set off a barrage of criticism.
RIDOH will allow healthcare staff who test positive w/COVID to work but not unvaxxed healthcare staff who test negative?!
Its time for the state to admit its mistake. We need all hands on deck to address the healthcare crisis. Rehire these qualified & experienced professionals https://t.co/nzX41Nbz2b
RI mandated the firing of healthcare workers who possibly experienced prior infection, and have comparable immunity to the vax compounding a preexisting staffing shortage. Why not admit we made a mistake? https://t.co/9CcNv39PQ6
As a result, at least two organizations so far have opted to staff operations with coronavirus-positive workers: Eleanor Slater Hospital and Respiratory and Rehabilitation of Rhode Island, according to reporting from WPRI’s Eli Sherman.
All healthcare workers in Rhode Island were required to be vaccinated by October 1, 2021.
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