U.S. Hospitals Let COVID-Infected Staff Stay on the Job After Firing Unvaxxed Workers

Unvaccinated U.S. health care workers have been fired in the name of not spreading the virus, but American hospitals are now allowing even infected staff to continue working.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Hospitals around the U.S. are allowing nurses and other workers who are infected with the coronavirus to stay on the job, The Associated Press (AP) reports, in response to hospital staffing shortages and rising caseloads caused by the Omicron variant.
  • California health authorities announced over the weekend that hospital staff members who test positive but are symptom-free can continue working, notes AP, while hospitals in Rhode Island and Arizona have likewise told employees they can stay on the job if they have no symptoms or just mild ones.
  • The move raises questions because U.S. hospitals have been firing healthcare workers for not submitting to Covid-19 vaccine mandates, causing the staff shortages in the first place.
  • For example, Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic recently fired 700 unvaccinated employees for disobeying vaccine mandates, while over 500 healthcare workers have been fired in Massachusetts, and over 30,000 healthcare workers in New York have been fired.
  • New York State’s largest healthcare provider, Northwell Health, has fired 1,400 employees who refused to get COVID-19 vaccinations, Reuters reported in October 2021.
WHAT HEALTHCARE WORKERS ARE SAYING:
  • “We worked so hard last year,” Jennifer Bridges, a Texas nurse fired in November over vaccine requirements told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I mean, we were there through thick and thin when we had no help… it was horrible. And these people that are putting forth these rules right now for us and kicking us to the curb, they weren’t there. They weren’t even in the building to be seen for months. They were staying at home while we were doing all the work.”
  • “I have never felt so strong about anything,” said Bridges, 39, who lives in Houston, Reuters notes. She was terminated from her $70,000 per year post on June 21, the deadline for employees to get a jab. “I did not feel there was proper research in this shot. It had been developed very quickly.”
BACKGROUND:
  • France last week announced it is allowing health care workers with mild or no symptoms to keep treating patients rather than isolate, according to AP.
  • The special exemption for French health care workers will end once staffing situations for hospitals and doctors’ offices improve, according to the alert issued by the ministry and seen by the AP.