Local health systems weigh in on other hospital staff returning to work post-Covid

SOUTHERN OREGON, —It’s been almost two years since people took to opening their doors and windows every evening to bang on pans, cheer and clap for front-line health care workers at the onset of COVID-19. It’s the kind of support many providers feel deprived of today.

Those feelings are exaggerated by a new Covid guidance policy that Legacy Health shared with employees on Friday. Employees who test positive for Covid can now come back to work five days after the start of their symptoms. In short, employees who have Covid and are still symptomatic can now treat patients.

“We are increasing risk tolerance to be able to care for the folks who so desperately need it, if we don’t do that, we’re going to find ourselves in crisis standards of care much faster as a region,” said Legacy Health senior vice president and chief medical officer Dr. Seth Podolsky.

Currently, Legacy Health does not inform its patients that their health care providers may be working while diagnosed with Covid but says it may do so in the future. We asked both Asante and Providence, what measures it was considering for staff returning to work after testing positive for Covid. You can find the full link to the KGW story here.

Asante spokeswoman, Lauren Vansickle emailed us a statement.

We are currently reviewing our protocols given the new CDC guidelines, determining if there will be adequate testing supplies, how long of a quarantine or isolation – 7 or 5 days, etc. Our goal is always to ensure employees are non-symptomatic and not contagious before they return to work.

Over at Providence, spokeswoman Julie Denney shared with us this statement.

On balance, the risk from an unprecedented staff shortage poses a greater threat to patient and caregiver safety than allowing caregivers to return to work under certain conditions – wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, including N95s as required so that we can provide health care to those who need our services.

She adds that Providence adheres to CDC guidelines and state and local health department requirements.

NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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