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Many Indiana nurses disagree with new CDC guidelines for healthcare workers

Many disagree with CDC guidance allowing them to return to work while positive or exposed
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Posted at 10:11 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 23:31:19-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Some nurses in central Indiana are unhappy about new quarantine guidance for healthcare workers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Indiana State Nurses' Association CEO Katherine Feley said many Indiana hospitals are operating at crisis levels.

Indiana's hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and short on staff.

Under new CDC crisis level guidelines, there are no testing, isolation or quarantine restrictions for unvaccinated or vaccinated staff members exposed to COVID-19, or those positive with mild or asymptomatic cases.

"It really actually puts more of a burden on our healthcare system so many of us we are surprised to receive the new recommendation by the CDC," Feley said.

That means nurses in our area with mild cases of COVID-19 or exposure can return to work as long as they wear a mask.

In contingency hospital settings, the level below crisis, the quarantine period is five days for healthcare workers who test positive and have symptoms. It's a time frame that still doesn't sit well with some nurses.

"Five days is ridiculous. It can still be spread," Nicki Speck, a nurse, said.

Feley disagrees with the CDC. She said nurses should be able to rest and not be forced to rush back while sick.

"When you have a sore throat, when you have a runny nose, you still don't feel well even those could be considered mild symptoms, your body is not functioning at it's best state and when a healthcare provider or a nurse is not functioning at their best state, safety becomes a concern," Feley said

Dr. Anthony Fauci has defended the CDC's changes.

"If you are asymptomatic and you are infected, we want to get people back to the jobs, particularly those with essential jobs to keep our society running smoothly," Fauci said.

Many nurses said they are already at a breaking point and feel this decision is only going to cause more fatigue among healthcare workers.

"Outside of the hospital and within our hospital walls we are all losing that hope," Feley said.