ANA Statement on Asymptomatic COVID-19 Positive Nurses Providing Care
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is very disappointed that eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, community spread of the virus is widespread and accelerating, resulting in unprecedented numbers of new cases and high levels of hospitalizations in urban and rural areas in many states. This surge places pressure on health care systems and hospitals to implement crisis standards of care, such as requesting that nurses who are COVID-19 positive continue to work and provide patient care. ANA maintains that COVID-19 positive nurses have the right to choose whether they are well enough to work. Under no circumstances should a nurse be pressured to work, and employers should never retaliate against nor penalize a nurse for choosing to prioritize self-care.
Nurses working across all health care settings and specialties are essential to combating COVID-19. ANA remains troubled that many nurses across the country continue to report that personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages persist. Nurses must have access to the highest level of protection in their workplaces, which prevents infections and deaths among nurses, health care teams and within our communities. 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.
We must come together as a country like we did in the spring and continue the public health measures that we know slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes wearing a mask in public spaces, practicing physical and social distancing, and exercising good hand hygiene. These steps are essential to prevent our health care systems and our nation’s health care workforce from being overwhelmed and unable to meet the exploding demand for care now and in the coming weeks and months