President’s Message

Posted on Jan 4, 2022 in President's Message | 0 comments

Happy New Year!

Omicron is here.

I was hopeful that this winter would be safer, but COVID 19 is starting to feel like the unwanted guest that refuses to leave. Already, my plans for an extended family get-together were scrapped by a symptomatic positive among us (we are all vaccinated and boosted, but we took the extra precaution of testing before getting together).

This variant is highly infectious, with an R naught of 15-20, and it is likely that a good portion of us will possibly be infected by the time this thing is done. It is comforting to know that PPE works, however, constant vigilance is required – not just at work, but also in our personal lives. It would be advisable to avoid large gatherings, particularly amongst unvaccinated and vulnerable people. We also know that vaccination works even with this variant. Though not as effective in limiting infection, it does prevent serious disease and hospitalization. Spread the word to your patients, friends, family and make sure they get boosted.

Already, the emergency department is overwhelmed with high numbers of new daily cases, which limits our capacity to care for other patients. Thankfully, the number of admissions has remained steady and are smaller in comparison to last winter, but the next few weeks will be telling as to where our hospital resources are. No elective procedure cancellations are planned. Perhaps early reports indicating less severe disease with Omicron will ring true.

Please be safe out there. Our patients need us the most now, and first and foremost, we have to be present to help. We’ll get through this together!

Use this link to upload your booster info if you haven’t already done so.

This applies if you did not get your booster through a Sutter vaccine clinic.

Below are the guidelines for returning to work if you test positive.

SHEMS Return to Work Requirements for Employees – Changes Based on New CDC Guidelines

Symptomatic or asymptomatic employees may return to work when all of the following criteria are met:

·       If these criteria are met, there is no requirement to test negative prior to returning to work.

·       Employees who have moderate disease (shortness of breath, difficulty breathing) and are not severely immunocompromised may return to work after at  least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive viral diagnostic test.

·       Employees who are identified as severely immunocompromised or were hospitalized for severe or critical COVID-19 may return to work after consultation and clearance with an infection control expert. In those situations, up to 20 days before clearance to return to work (RTW) is common and occasionally a test-based clearance approach is indicated.

·       Employee Health Services (EHS) will only manage the RTW process for employees who are diagnosed with or test positive for COVID-19.

Employees who test negative:

·       If a symptomatic employee tests negative for COVID-19, they may return to work once their symptoms resolve and they meet any standard affiliate policies and local health authority requirements. For example, affiliate policy may require a doctor’s note or other medical clearance if an employee has been off work for more than 3 days, and such requirements would apply.

Jeff Chen MD, MPH, FACEP
Chief of Staff, ABSMC Summit Campus

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