Group slams move to shorten isolation period for COVID-positive health workers | Inquirer News

Group slams move to shorten isolation period for COVID-positive health workers

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 10:11 PM January 10, 2022
IATF OKS shortens period of quarantine for fully vaxxed health workers

Healthcare workers in Ilocos Sur get swab samples to test individuals for COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Vigan city government)

MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) slammed the directive to shorten the isolation period for fully vaccinated health workers, calling the move “illogical and unscientific.”

According to AHW in a statement, shortening the duration of isolation for COVID-positive health workers will pose further danger to both health workers and patients and will “further accelerate the proliferation and spread of infection.”

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“Furthermore… to create distinction between the general public and the health workers on the number of days of isolation of COVID positive cases and quarantine days of those with close contacts to COVID positive is illogical and unscientific because the virus that infects the general public is no different from the virus that infects the health workers,” the AHW said.

This came after the Department of Health (DOH), through the Circular 2022-002 Section E or the “Amended Quarantine Isolation Period for Healthcare Workers as Contingency Measure for Sustaining Healthcare Capacity,” authorized Hospital Infection Prevention and Control Committees and Provincial Health Officers to shorten the duration of isolation and quarantine of fully vaccinated health workers.

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DOH said that the isolation period for the vaccinated and unvaccinated COVID-19 positive individuals will be 10 days, while a shortened isolation protocol of five days was ordered for health workers infected with COVID-19, “in extreme circumstances of manpower shortage.”

“DOH cannot simply assume that symptoms will appear immediately. Health workers with high-risk exposure to COVID-19 with or without symptoms should be quarantined and undergo an RT-PCR test. A free, regular, and mandatory RT-PCR test should be provided to all health workers in every high-risk exposure to COVID-19,” the AHW said.

Meanwhile, AHW president Robert Mendoza said that reducing the days of quarantine of infected health workers “will never solve the chronic and acute problem of understaffing of health workers who for the longest time are burned out, had meager wages, and felt betrayed by the unjust treatment of this government by not releasing the COVID benefits of health workers.”

He then called on the government to instead implement a mass hiring of regular health workers with “living wage” as a solution in sustaining the healthcare capacity of public hospitals.

Earlier, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases approved a shortened period of the quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated health workers, as well as home quarantine for select COVID-19 cases.

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TAGS: AHW, Alliance of Health Workers, COVID-19, covid-19 protocols, DoH, health workers, IATF, isolation, pandemic, Quarantine
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