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North Dakota lets healthcare workers with Covid stay on job as record surge strains hospitals

As hospitals in the state reach capacity and face dire staff shortages, North Dakota will now allow healthcare workers who have tested positive for Covid-19 to continue working in coronavirus units, officials announced this week.

Hospital administrators have asked for the extraordinary action to be taken, Governor Doug Burgum said at a Monday press conference, and interim State Health Officer Dirk Wilke amended an order to allow the new measure to take effect.

Now, North Dakota healthcare workers are permitted to continue treating Covid-19 patients, even if they’ve tested positive for the virus themselves.

“This applies only to Covid-positive healthcare workers who do not have symptoms and they are allowed only to work Covid units around patients who already have the virus,” Burgum said.

The move comes as the state struggles to alleviate a healthcare system overwhelmed by the coronavirus, with record positive cases pushing hospitals to operate at 100% capacity.

“Our hospitals are under enormous pressure now,” Burgum said “In the last few days, our hospitalizations due to Covid [rose] by another 10 percent. That’s 60 percent higher than just four weeks ago.”

During the press conference the governor moved every county in the state to the “high-risk” category, asking residents of the state to take the virus as seriously as they take “diabetes” or “heart disease.”

Allowing healthcare workers to work while Covid-positive follows the Centers for Disease and Control’s “crisis capacity strategies,” which permits healthcare personnel suspected or confirmed to be positive to return to work if there are persistent staffing shortages.

Burgum said this will not pose a significant risk for more spread, as only patients with the virus will be in contact with the COVID-positive healthcare workers. Read from source….