The Metro Washington Council’s Health Committee on Monday called on the DC Department of Health to intensify contact tracing for frontline healthcare workers who have been exposed to COVID-19. “If the District of Columbia is going to ‘flatten the curve,’ we must put in place a robust process of notifying potential asymptomatic carriers of the virus,” said committee Chair Djawa Hall of 1199 SEIU UHWE. In a letter to the DC Department of Health, the MWC made specific demands for health care workers in DC to create new guidelines for hospitals, community-based health organizations, and long term care facilities, which would require them to implement in-house contact tracing epidemiology programs, create guidelines for notifying workers within 48 hours when a patient or employee tests positive for coronavirus, and reinstate furloughed workers and train them to fill critical contact tracer positions. “A timeline of 48 hours for workers to be contacted is appropriate and can be achieved through occupational medicine,” said Hall. “Additionally, other essential staff unable to perform their regular duties during this time can be trained in this area. Frontline workers cannot and should not be expected to unknowingly put their lives on the line, without being able to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families. “
- David Stephen
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