Healthcare quarantines spur staffing concerns: 'We'd run out of healthcare workers'

Worries about staffing shortages are emerging as more U.S. hospitals and health systems order workers to self-quarantine amid the spread of the new coronavirus, according to Kaiser Health News.

Sutter Santa Rosa (Calif.) Regional Hospital, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota (Fla.), University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and Kirkland, Wash.-based EvergreenHealth all ordered quarantines for healthcare workers.

Kaiser Health News reports that NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville, Calif., also quarantined about 100 of its workers for 14 days.

Nurses in Washington state told their union they were concerned about protocols for assessing exposure to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and hospital procedures for determining whether a nurse or other caregiver should self-monitor or be placed in quarantine.

It's a concern echoed throughout the healthcare community, according to Kaiser Health News. 

Jennifer Nuzzo, DrPH, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, told the nonprofit news service that it's "not sustainable to think that every time a healthcare worker is exposed, they have to be quarantined for 14 days. We'd run out of healthcare workers." 

She added that people showing infection signs associated with the virus should stay home, but providers who may have been exposed but who are asymptomatic should not necessarily be quarantined.

Dr. Nuzzo and others recommended that healthcare providers balance the changing science related to the virus with operational needs. 

Read the full Kaiser Health News report here


More articles on workforce:

Hospital job growth slowed in February
San Francisco General not prepared for coronavirus, hospital staff says
5 hospitals quarantining workers amid coronavirus

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