Banner, TMC to allow some employees to work while infected with coronavirus
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Banner and TMC, the largest two medical providers in southern Arizona, will allow some of their employees to work even if they are COVID-19 positive.
Both medical groups announced the change Friday, Jan. 17, and said the decisions follow the “Return To Work” guidance the CDC issued in late December.
According to those guidelines “employees with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection may return to work if they are fever-free for 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medicine, have symptom improvement and a minimum of five days have passed since symptoms first appeared.”
Banner said most of its employees are fully vaccinated anyway so many “will be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms if they experience a breakthrough infection.”
“The omicron variant is spreading rapidly in the communities we serve,” Banner said in an email to KOLD. “As residents of these communities, our team members are being exposed and infected with the virus at much higher rates.”
Banner said starting Friday it will let “asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID-positive team members return to work if they feel they are well enough to do so.”
Banner said those employees will have to wear N95 or KN95 masks for 10 days after they test positive.
TMC said it “will not require a negative test to return to work” and that there will be no work restriction for employees who have been exposed to the coronavirus as long as they don’t have any symptoms.
Northwest Healthcare, which runs two Northwest Medical Centers as well as the Oro Valley Hospital, said “at this time we do not have COVID positive employees working in our hospitals.”
KOLD also reached out to the Carondelet Health Network, which manages both St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s in Tucson.
The company said, “we will continue to follow CDC guidelines and have clear policies in place for the safety of our employees and patients.”
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