ORLANDO, Fla. - Healthcare workers in California, Arizona, and Rhode Island who have tested positive with COVID-19 are asking to come to work if they’re asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. The same thing is happening in France, all due to a shortage of health care workers.
FOX 35 News could not find any facilities in Central Florida where this is happening, and area residents hope it stays that way.
"I probably wouldn’t like that," said Becca who works in the hospitality industry.
"I think that’s not a very prudent idea," Paul Rodriguez said. "Like everybody else, I think if they have COVID, they should be quarantined. I understand there’s a shortage, but I don’t know if you want to put sick people around people who are coming sick."
Willa Fuller is the Executive Director of the Florida Nurses Association (FNA). She is against sick healthcare workers working.
"We don’t know for sure about transmissibility or long-term effects. To me, it’s putting both nurses and patients at risk," Fuller said.
She added that this goes against everything that is taught to nurses in nursing school.
FILE - Health care workers attend a patient with COVID-19 at the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.
"It’s stressed you take the most care possible, that you take the caution possible about everything so this whole COVID issue of things being a crisis situation, it’s like the standards are being lowered," Fuller said.
So far she tells FOX 35 News she hasn’t received calls from any FNA nurses saying they’ve been asked to work with Covid-19.
FOX 35 News reached out to Central Florida’s largest hospital systems. Only Health First got back us before the publication of this article. Health First declined to discuss the broader issue.
"As an integrated delivery network (or system), Health First is fortunate, during critical times of need, to have the ability to re-deploy talented clinical resources to areas where we most need them. We, in fact, experienced this first-hand during the Delta spike in Summer 2021, when many of our non-hospital clinicians volunteered to serve in one of our four Brevard County hospitals," a Health First’s spokesperson said in a statement.
While some asymptomatic health care workers and some with mild symptoms are working in California, the Department of Health there is requiring infected workers to wear N-95 masks and only work with patients who have COVID-19.
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