Medical Technology

Nurses use Twitter to protest changes to the COVID Guidelines

Search Twitter for recent posts about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and you’ll find a plethora of nurses’ tweets Some of them have gone viral, opposing the agency’s new guidelines for isolation after a positive COVID test.

Recent posts on the social media platform include the Minnesota, New York nurse associations and National Nurses United.

“This new policy is likely to cause lots of problems for nurses and other frontline workers,” Mary C. Turner, RN President, Minnesota Nurses Association, tweeted Dec. 29. It may be beneficial for businesses to return their employees to work quicker, but it will increase the risk of COVID-19 virus spreading to nurses, other workers or the general population.

Earlier this week earlier this week, earlier this week, the CDC has announced it is cutting the recommended time for isolation for those who are symptomatic Americans with COVID-19 from 10 days to 5 days. The CDC issued an emergency guidance just before Christmas to healthcare workers because of the shortage of staff in the world and an increase in COVID cases due to the Omicron variant.

The CDC ruled at that time that healthcare workers suffering from COVID-19 symptoms can return to work after 7 days if they have an unfavorable test, and that isolation time can be cut further if there are staffing shortages.

“Healthcare workers who have received all recommended COVID-19 doses, including one booster is not required to be quarantined at home after high-risk exposures,” the CDC stated.

There was plenty of disagreement on Twitter, at least one national nursing association said in Medscape Medical News it supports the CDC’s updated recommendations.

April N. Kapu (DNP, APRN), president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners made a statement to Medscape Medical News, “The guidelines are based on the latest research findings and it is essential that we evolve [to follow the latest research”.

“It is normal that changes in guidelines may be confusing. That’s why we advise all patients to discuss their concerns with their preferred health healthcare provider. We will make it through this pandemic. However, we need to continue to gather information make sure that everyone is vaccine-free, and follow experts’ advice.

Kapu stated that Omicron is asymptomatic since it doesn’t require fever, cough, runny or nasal discharge or fatigue. We should pay attention to this portion of the overall message and make sure there aren’t any symptoms present before returning to work or school with masks.”

NNU isn’t in agreement with AANP’s acceptance of the changes. In two separate publications two weeks apart, NNU condemned the CDC’s “weakening” of COVID isolation guidelines “right at the time that the Omicron variant is exploding across America during a winter surge,” putting lives at risk.

“Nurses have been fighting since the beginning of this pandemic to ensure that they are protected by science and the precautionary principle,” NNU President Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN, stated in the latest announcement.

“While the CDC claims that the change is motivated by science,’ nurses emphasize that the weakened isolation guidelines are driven by the employers wanting workers back on the clock fast regardless of whether it’s safe, to maximize their profits.”

NNU claims that shortening the isolation time for COVID-positive individuals will increase the rate of transmission.

Triunfo Cortez said that strengthening, not reducing protections is the answer to the shortage of staff.

NNU, which is home to more than 175,000 members, announced January. 13 that it would be holding a national day-of-action to highlight the inability of the federal government as well as employers and patients to protect doctors, nurses, and other workers on the frontline.

The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) was also against the CDC changes. “Without the requirement for all healthcare workers to be supplied with N95s or home testing kits or requiring portable HEPA filters in areas like break rooms — measures that safeguard healthcare workers’ and their patients,” Pat Kane RN, executive director NYSNA, stated in a Dec. 24 release.

“This directive will only increase the shortage and put our patients at risk.”

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