Work Restrictions Relaxed for Boosted Nursing Home Staff

Work Restrictions Relaxed for Boosted Nursing Home Staff

New federal health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is relaxing work restrictions for some skilled nursing staff. McKnight’s reports, staff who have received the COVID-19 booster shot will have less restrictions when returning to work compared to those who are unvaccinated or vaccinated but have not received the booster.

Arjun Srinivasan, M.D., association director for healthcare associated infections at CDC, said, “we know how challenging nursing homes and all long-term care facilities have been in keeping their staff healthy and working. If you’re boosted, you can keep working. You can not only serve your patients but you can also help your fellow staff members.”

The most recent guidance was released in the last week of December taking into account ongoing staffing challenges and the rise of the omicron variant. New guidance on quarantine and isolation regulations are based on the employee’s vaccination status and if they are exposed or infected with the virus.

Staffing guidance is organized into three categories which are convention, contingency and crisis. All unvaccinated, vaccinated, and boosted staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days or 7 days with improved symptoms or a negative test.

If multiple staff are on sick leave, under the contingency plan a facility can permit workers to isolate for five days with or without a negative test if they have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. If the staffing situation is in crisis, all restrictions are lifted but asymptomatic and symptomatic considerations must be prioritized.

For boosted staff exposed to coronavirus there will not be any work restrictions under both the crisis and contingency plans. Srivasan stated, “if you are not boosted, we do recommend that you be restricted from work for either 10 days if you’re not going to be tested or for seven days with a negative test.” He added, “what we know is that if you’re boosted you are at much, much lower risk of then contracting COVID. We feel comfortable saying if you are boosted and you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID, you do not need to be restricted from work.” The hope is that by lifting work restrictions, more staff will get vaccinated with the booster.