California calls for weekly testing of all hospital workers

The California Department of Public Health has released new COVID-19 testing guidance stipulating that workers at acute care hospitals be tested weekly.

The guidance, announced in an all-facilities letter dated Nov. 25, also calls for acute care hospitals to test all patients before admission and immediately test symptomatic healthcare workers.

"These new regulations will save lives, dramatically reduce the risk of further outbreaks inside hospitals and help ensure that there are enough healthcare workers to care for patients during the worsening surge," National Union of Healthcare Workers President Sal Rosselli said in a news release.

Under California's new regulations, acute care hospitals must begin testing workers considered to be at high risk of contracting COVID-19, such as emergency room and intensive care unit workers, by the week of Dec. 7, according to the union, which represents more than 15,000 healthcare workers in California. 

Hospitals also must begin weekly screening of all workers by Dec. 14. This includes nurses, nursing assistants and medical technicians as well as housekeepers, food service workers and clerical workers. Hospitals must submit their testing plans to their local licensing district office no later than Dec. 7. Additionally, they must have plans for use of testing results. 

The new California guidelines come as the state reported 7,415 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals Nov. 28, an increase from 7,170, the previous high from July, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Read the full guidelines here



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