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CDC releases guidance for healthcare workers amid increase in Omicron cases

By Tamas Mondovics

With the growing number of COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant, and consistent with current understanding of the disease trajectory, CDC has released updated guidance for isolation and quarantine for healthcare workers, decreasing their isolation time after infection with COVID-19.
The CDC is also releasing an update to guidance for contingency and crisis management in the setting of significant healthcare worker shortages.
According to a recent press release these updates “provide healthcare facilities with the
strategies to limit the effects
of staff shortages caused
by COVID-19 on patient care.”
The update noted that “healthcare workers with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic can return to work after seven (7) days with a negative test, and that isolation time can be cut further if there are staffing shortages. Healthcare workers who have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including a booster, do not need to quarantine at home following high-risk exposures. Isolation relates to behavior after a confirmed infection, and quarantine is following exposure to the virus but without a confirmed infection.
The CDC emphasized that these guidelines apply only to the healthcare workforce and may be revised to
continue to protect both healthcare workers and
patients as additional information on the Omicron variant becomes available to inform recommended actions.
“As the healthcare community prepares for an anticipated surge in patients due to Omicron, CDC is updating our recommendations to reflect what we know about infection and exposure in the context of vaccination and booster doses,” CDC
Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “Our goal is to keep healthcare personnel and patients safe, and to address and prevent undue burden on our healthcare facilities.”
The CDC is continuing to evaluate isolation and quarantine recommendations for the broader population as it learns about the Omicron variant and is promising to update the public as appropriate.
“Our priority, remains prevention and I strongly encourage all healthcare personnel to get vaccinated and boosted.”
Currently, (as of the writing this article) the
CDC strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 5 and older and boosters for everyone 16 and older – vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and our healthcare system from the impact of COVID-19.
Additional information will continue to be published as guidance on CDC’s website soon and shared with healthcare organizations and provider groups.