Nurses in Georgia are voicing opinions on COVID isolation changes

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 12:08 PM EST
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ATLANTA (WGCL/CBS46) -Nurses are speaking out against the new CDC guidelines shortening the amount of time people need to quarantine and isolate.

“I find the new guidance to be reckless for lack of a better word, it’s reckless,” said Laura Price, a 13-year nurse (LPN). “We are in just about the same place that we were when Delta started, we just had 10,044 cases [in Georgia].”

The new guidance allows asymptomatic patients to only isolate for five days instead of 10. Those who are asymptomatic should also continue to wear a mask for another five days around others. And, a negative test is not required to end isolation.

“I wouldn’t want as a patient for somebody who is COVID positive to be taking care of me,” Price said.

Comments on nurse associations’ social media pages echoed similar sentiments.

As many hospital beds fill with positive patients who are unvaccinated, nurses say these new guidelines compound an already stressful work environment.

“I think this constant pushing. These guidelines from the CDC are going to push people further away. Mentally and physically everyone is exhausted,” Price said.

The CDC said the new guidelines are based on the days you are most infectious.

“The nurses most certainly have been on the frontline for a very long time and since the people we’re seeing in the hospital are still overwhelmingly unvaccinated people, I can understand their frustration,” Dr. Robin Dretler, an infectious disease specialist. “The data is pretty clear that you’re contagious for two days before and three days after you’re symptomatic. So, if you’re going five days or seven days you should be very low risk to other people.”

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners stresses that “asymptomatic” language is the key.

“I think the CDC guidelines about being asymptomatic for five days, that needs to be taken very, very seriously,” said Dr. April Kapu, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. “Get vaccinated and if you’re eligible get your booster that is the number one thing you can do to mitigate risk in the first place.

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