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North Dakota says health workers with COVID-19 who don’t show symptoms can keep working

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issued an order earlier this week allowing health care staff who test positive for the coronavirus to keep caring for COVID-19 patients as long as they don’t show symptoms, CBS News reported.
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nd nurses(Sanford Health)
Published: Nov. 15, 2020 at 5:06 PM EST
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(WVLT/CBS) - North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issued an order earlier this week allowing health care staff who test positive for the coronavirus to keep caring for COVID-19 patients as long as they don’t show symptoms, CBS News reported.

The change was “requested by hospitals to address staffing,” he said on Twitter.

Nursing groups are calling out the decision, saying it could lead to hospitals forcing ill nurses to show up or retaliating against those who test positive and decline to work.

“Nearly 400 nurses in the United States have died as a result of COVID-19 and many others have been infected and hospitalized. This is unacceptable. Nurses and health care workers who are risking their lives and the health of their own families deserve better,” the American Nurses Association (ANA) said in a statement.

Allowing sick nurses to treat patients also puts other medical workers and patients at risk of catching the virus, said Cheryl Peterson, ANA’s vice president of nursing programs

“We know that even asymptomatic people can still spread the virus, so while everybody’s going to do the best they can, the reality is there is the potential they could spread it,” she said. “You’re still in common areas, you still have to walk the hallways, you still have to be in an elevator.”

CBS News reported that COVID-19 is surging in North Dakota, with 1,400 new infections reported Friday. Hospitals are at capacity with 1 in 6 hospitalizations now attributed to the virus.

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