Mary Altaffer / AP
New York Governor Kathy Hochul says most key workers in the state can get back to work just five days after testing positive for coronavirus if they are fully vaccinated and meet other safety standards.
Previously, workers had to be absent from work for at least 10 days.
Hochul said Friday the change in quarantine guidelines will make it easier to maintain “critical services New Yorkers need – healthcare, transportation and grocery stores.”
Political change will affect employees in a variety of industries, from pharmacies and food processing companies to hospitals and taxi fleets.
The governor announced this as infections due to the Omicron variant have risen across the country.
In New York state, officials said the number of daily infections has increased dramatically in the past few days, from about 22,000 on Tuesday to more than 44,000 on Thursday.
During a Christmas Eve briefing, Hochul also pointed out data suggesting the latest strain of COVID could cause less severe infections.
“Positive cases don’t mean you’re too sick [to work] and need to be hospitalized, “she said.” We want to make sure our important staff can … come back. “
In a statement, Acting New York Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett that the impact of the winter omicron surge on the workforce is “already being felt”.
“Shortening isolation from 10 days to 5 days is a good guideline and is consistent with recent CDC guidelines for health workers,” said Bassett.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new national guidelines that will allow workers with COVID-19 to return to work with a new negative test after 7 days of quarantine.
“[T]The isolation time can be further shortened in the event of staff shortages, “said a statement from the CDC.
Officials in New York decided to cut the quarantine period even further and set the state policy to 5 days instead of 7. They also said workers returning to work do not need to be retested.
However, employees must be fully vaccinated and wear a mask on site. You must also be asymptomatic or “slightly symptomatic” and not have a fever for 72 hours.
During her briefing, Hochul said the rising hospital admission rates are also putting an additional strain on healthcare workers. She expressed her grief for those who lost loved ones to the pandemic during the holiday season.
“Our hearts go out to their family members who are about to have this beautiful holiday,” said Hochul. “Knowing that a seat will be available at the table must be incredibly painful.”