Local health care leaders weigh in on new CDC guidelines

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines Christmas week, to help health care workers return quicker to work following COVID isolation.

“I think to change it from 10 to seven days could be helpful,” Dr. Carrie Horn, the chief medical officer at National Jewish Health said.

According to the CDC’s release: health care workers with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic can return to work after seven days with a negative test, and that isolation time can be cut further if there are staffing shortages. Health care workers who have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including a booster, do not need to quarantine at home following high-risk exposures. 

“If the data supports using a negative test at seven days and you’re good then I support that because when I have to quarantine they have to pick up the slack without me,” Horn said.  

Horn said she believes it will help give employees confidence in crisis situations at hospitals.

“I think health care workers want to have a little more confidence in their decisions about themselves,” Horn said.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky released this statement:

““As the health care 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. Our goal is to keep health care personnel and patients safe, and to address and prevent undue burden on our health care facilities. Our priority, remains prevention—and I strongly encourage all health care personnel to get vaccinated and boosted.”

Horn said health care workers here in Colorado are still seeing high numbers of COVID cases but they have dropped from previous weeks. But she has confidence since the majority of health care workers are vaccinated.

“Vast majority of health care workers are vaccinated. In fact most are boosted,” Horn said.

According to the CDC’s release:

“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. Additional information will be published as guidance on CDC’s website soon and shared with healthcare organizations and provider groups. CDC continues to evaluate isolation and quarantine recommendations for the broader population as we learn about the Omicron variant and will update the public as appropriate. 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.”

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