Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released guidelines for healthcare workers working with patients affected by the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). These guidelines apply to all healthcare settings in the U.S.
In their guidelines, the CDC made several recommendations that can endanger healthcare workers, including allowing the use of facemasks instead of respirators and not requiring Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms for COVID-19 patients.
CWA strongly opposes the rollbacks in protections in the new CDC recommendations.
The new CDC recommendations are a downgrading of protections for healthcare personnel (HCP) on the front line of the fight against the pandemic. Simply put, facemasks cannot provide the level of protection afforded by respirators and employers will be more likely to use this downgraded level of personal protective equipment (PPE) based on the CDC's guidelines.
CWA's Health and Safety Department has provided Districts and Healthcare Locals with a list of items that they should address with employers to ensure that this recommendation does not increase the risk for healthcare workers, their families, patients, and the community.