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Can health care personnel work while infected with coronavirus?

New NYS Health Department guidelines sent to facilities just this week, set forth criteria under which healthcare providers infected with the coronavirus can return to work

Posted: Apr 3, 2020 5:30 PM
Updated: Apr 3, 2020 5:35 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- New NYS Health Department guidelines sent to facilities just this week, set forth criteria under which health care providers infected with the coronavirus can return to work.

Included in the guidelines is a section which states that a facility can request that health care personnel with the virus return to work if fever - free for 72 hours without fever-reducing medication, and with other symptoms improving-meaning they can return to work while symptomatic.

"They may still have a little bit of congestion or a dry cough, or something like that, but many times the body's healing response is longer than the amount of time that the body actually has the virus in it," says Dr. Kent Hall, senior vice president chief physician executive for MVHS.

MVHS has come to that bridge, but hasn't had to cross it, yet.

"We've had one patient, one healthcare provider, that has tested positive, they're not back to work yet," said Hall. "We would follow what the CDC and department of health says so we would not have anyone come back to work before those metrics are met."

Hall also says personnel at MVHS are reusing N95 respirator masks, because if they didn't, they would run out.

"I will tell you that as of yesterday afternoon, we had, at our current burn rate, the current usage rate, we were actually going to run out of N95 respirators in two days," said Hall, adding that the masks are sterilized in accordance with CDC guidelines. "At the end of the day, we take the N95 and put it into a bag, put the person's name on the bag, sterilize that, and then it can be used again and that can be used a total of five times."

With the situation changing so rapidly, Hall says MVHS is working harder to educate staff about the changes.

All MVHS employees started wearing face masks on Thursday.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 364965

Reported Deaths: 29484
CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City19996821362
Nassau400342137
Suffolk392581861
Westchester331861352
Rockland13047626
Orange10292443
Erie5810504
Dutchess3847138
Monroe2791198
Onondaga2033127
Albany179676
Ulster164574
Sullivan134030
Putnam122758
Niagara97263
Oneida92946
Schenectady67329
Broome52844
Rensselaer46628
Saratoga46511
Columbia38032
Madison31010
Warren25226
Steuben24141
Greene23118
Washington22813
Orleans21033
St. Lawrence2002
Fulton19818
Ontario1989
Genesee1954
Tompkins1550
Chemung1361
Chenango1250
Tioga12421
Livingston1187
Wayne1103
Herkimer1053
Oswego1053
Clinton954
Montgomery824
Wyoming825
Cattaraugus820
Cayuga801
Chautauqua784
Delaware784
Jefferson720
Otsego695
Seneca550
Schoharie490
Allegany450
Yates396
Cortland390
Essex360
Lewis200
Franklin200
Schuyler110
Hamilton50
Unassigned00
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