CDC’s Revised Quarantine Guidelines Worry Overburdened Health Care Workers

When Cherriese Thompson heard the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision last week to cut quarantine time down from 10 days to five days, she was upset. Thompson, a Northern California third-year medical resident, was upset that the Centers for Disease Prevention had reduced quarantine time from 10 to 5 days. She felt this would add confusion and increase the risk of contracting Omicron variant, which is highly contagious.

“It’s just so upsetting,” Thompson said. “I feel like this is going to end up fueling the surge even more. It’s come to the point that we value money more than we value people’s livelihoods.”

The CDC decided to reduce the time that COVID-19-infected patients who are symptomatic have to be quarantined in order to ease labor shortagesfor the stressed airline industry. However, health care workers claim that the new guidelines ignore their needs since they are already covered by hospitals. midst of a surgeDealing with critical staffing shortages. They say that a shorter quarantine time could only increase the stress in the health care system and negatively impact BIPOC health workers and patients.

A recent study by Mercer It was found that the United States faces a severe shortage in health care workers. The country will lose approximately 29,400 registered nurses by 2025. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics In December, it was reported that hospitals had lost 9,000 jobs in October alone. The number of health care workers has fallen by 524,000 since the outbreak of the pandemic. According to the World Health OrganizationBetween January 2020 and May 20,21, COVID-19 claimed the lives of approximately 115,000 healthcare workers. Los Angeles County alone, there were more than 49,000 health care workers Since February 2020, first responders and doctors have been infected with the virus. Data gathered by Fierce HealthcareAbout 11,000 health care workers across 58 health care systems in the country were fired or dismissed because they failed to meet vaccine mandates.

Thompson developed symptoms of COVID-19 the day after the guidance was issued. Her grandmother had developed symptoms while visiting family in Maryland. She’d received her booster shot of the vaccine, but her grandmother was still experiencing a high fever and Thompson had to consider taking her to the hospital. Thompson, a Black Jamaican woman, was concerned that her grandmother wouldn’t receive the best care due to implicit racial bias. This bias makes white health care workers less likely than Black patients to believe them. In a 2003 study by the National Academy of Medicine, they found that “racial and ethnic minorities receive lower-quality health care than white people — even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable.”

“I was terrified to take her to the hospital,” Thompson said. “I was thinking, ‘At least I’m the best person to advocate for her because I’m in health care,’ but we’re still Black women.”

Thompson was eventually able to break her grandmother’s fever at home and give her the care she needed so that her health improved, but by the time she got back to California, her father began developing symptoms as well.

“I’m going to need to fly over there and advocate for my dad,” Thompson said. “I’ve witnessed the disparities in the micro- and macroaggressions and the inadequate care that people of color have experienced, in general, and then exacerbated by COVID.”

Thompson thought of taking herself to the hospital Friday, Dec. 31 after her oxygen levels dropped down to 92% and she felt short of breath. Fortunately, Thompson’s symptoms stabilized and her clinic decided to continue following a 10-day quarantine guideline for now.

“I think [the CDC’s] response is inappropriate especially for a population of workers that are already under so much stress, instead of shutting down again and paying people to stay home and get these infections under control,” Thompson said.

Thompson was in the Intensive Care Unit during COVID-19’s first surge. She said she felt compelled to quit. Thompson witnessed a string of deaths, each one with little recovery time.

“It just kept happening. We had to keep working,” she said. “It’s not just caring for patients who have the illness, but also the fear that patients experience when they are separated from family.”

Thompson claims that most of her co-residents have contracted COVID-19 from residents of color. Additionally, Thompson says that most of the hospitalizations she’s seen are Black, Indigenous, and patients of color — and the national numbers reflect that. Black people accounting for 15% of COVID-19 deathsDespite accounting for only 12% of the population, it is not known where race is found in the country. According to the CDC Black Americans are 2.6 timesAs likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than white, non–Hispanic Americans and twice as likely that they will die from the virus as white, non–Hispanic Americans. Blacks account for 11% of the population as of January 1. the highest demographic spikeCOVID-19 cases: 270.5 per 100,000 people.

Residents from all over the country have supported higher wages and hazard compensation, but so far they have not succeeded. A first-year medical resident earns $57500 and in 2021 they will make on average $64,000, according to a study. Medscape report. Most workers work at least 80 hours per week, earning an average of $16 an hour. They’ve also argued the government should continue the pause on student loans.

“I wish the government would actually support us health care workers so that we’re better able to support our patients,” says Thompson.