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Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from Business Wire
Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Hospital Plans to Keep Staff Exposed to COVID Working While Awaiting Test Results Are Dangerous for Patients

December 22, 2021 GMT

TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec 22, 2021--

Warnings from Ontario’s health care front-lines of staff shortages and inadequate personal protective equipment to deal with airborne infection went unheeded for nearly 20 months by the provincial government. “Now the staffing crisis is so severe at some hospitals that they require staff directly exposed to COVID to work while awaiting test results, to keep ERs and beds open. This is a dangerous practice which puts at risk patients, particularly those with compromised immune systems and other staff,” says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE).

OCHU, the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), represents 40,000 RPNs, PSWs, cleaners, paramedical, support and clerical staff at more than 120 hospital campuses province wide.

Amid the Omicron surge, Ontario hospitals are implementing the cancellation of surgeries and procedures and program reductions to cope. A staffing crisis is widespread, with hospitals across Ontario unable to find care staff to fill gaps.

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“The high-risk practice of utilizing staff who have been directly exposed to COVID positive individuals instead of having them self-isolate at home is based on the flawed theory that personal protective equipment will protect the patients they care for and their co-workers. This is a significant risk to patients and other staff. 860 patients have died already of COVID contracted in hospital and many of these deaths were certainly avoidable.

“Under the current surge and given understaffing and pandemic burnout, we cannot afford to have more front-line staff go down because we’ve again undermined the risk of infection spread and not applied the precautionary principle. These practices just reinforce the knowledge that the hospitals and government are failing to care for the well-being of patients and health care workers,” Hurley stresses.

The solution to the staffing crisis is to do our utmost to protect the staff we have, says Hurley. “It is to make health care work decently paid and to make the jobs full-time. It is to give these some workers time off with their families, which they have not had for two years.”

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View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211222005382/en/

CONTACT: Stella Yeadon

CUPE Communications

416-559-9300

syeadon@cupe.ca

KEYWORD: NORTH AMERICA CANADA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: LABOR INFECTIOUS DISEASES HOSPITALS HEALTH PUBLIC POLICY/GOVERNMENT

SOURCE: Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU-CUPE)

Copyright Business Wire 2021.

PUB: 12/22/2021 10:14 AM/DISC: 12/22/2021 10:14 AM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211222005382/en