UK cases hit a new daily high of 183,037; Spain cuts isolation period to seven days
Health unions blasted Quebec’s decision to allow some asymptomatic workers infected with Covid to stay at work, even as an infectious disease specialist warned more Canadian provinces may be forced to follow steps similar to Omicron.
Quebec said on Tuesday it had no choice but to allow some essential health workers to continue working instead of isolating themselves at home after testing positive, to prevent staff shortages do not cripple health services.
A number of unions have said they fear the move will further strain healthcare networks and put workers and patients at risk.
“The network is not prepared to face the risks of the government’s decision to bring asymptomatic infected staff back to work. At the moment, we are not even able to test the personnel in their work environment ”, declared Réjean Leclerc, president of the Federation of Health and Social Services, which represents 120,000 health workers in the public and private sectors of the province.
Leclerc called for better tests for workers and better ventilation in hospitals.
“We cannot subscribe to this decision which endangers the health and safety not only of our members, but above all of the vulnerable people to whom they must provide essential care and services,” he added. Alliance of professional and technical personnel in health and social services said in a social media post.
The union represents 60,000 workers in public health and social services establishments across Quebec.
The provinces of Canada, including heavily populated Quebec and Ontario, report new daily records of Covid cases as the highly infectious variant of Omicron takes hold, forcing tens of thousands of people to self-isolate.
Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto, said Wednesday that other provinces are likely discussing similar measures to help tackle staff shortages in hospitals.
“All jurisdictions in the northern hemisphere face the same problem. The clear reality is that we will not be able to function by keeping everyone isolated for 10 days, ”he said.
Morris said he was not aware of other jurisdictions allowing infected healthcare workers to work, but noted that Norway had already shortened his period of isolation during a wave of the Delta variant earlier this winter.
we Health officials also shortened the recommended isolation time for Americans with asymptomatic cases of Covid to five days on Monday compared to the previous 10-day directive.
Spain has also reduced its period of self-isolation from 10 to seven days, even as the number of new infections in the country reaches record levels.
* I am grateful to reader Ed for pointing this out.