DC nurses praise recent guidance on COVID-19 testing for health care workers

Nurses praised the D.C. health department for its recent guidance for hospitals and health care facilities related to coronavirus.

Last week, D.C. put out a health notice that calls for health care workers with a “history of exposure to laboratory confirmed COVID-19 patient” to get tested for the virus.

“We’re very happy to see the changes,” said Edward Smith, executive director of the District of Columbia Nurses Association, or DCNA.

Smith said his association had been fighting for the change after nurses at some D.C. hospitals reported that they were told they could only be tested if they were exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus. The new guidance changes that.

“They’re asymptomatic; they don’t have symptoms from the COVID-19 virus; they’ll still get tested,” Smith said.

The association just learned of the change on Monday and notified its members about it. Smith said that currently it isn’t clear if all hospitals are adhering to the guidance, even though he said most do follow both Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and D.C. health department information.

“We just have to wait to see if we’re going to make sure that nurses that are exposed are going to get the test that they need, but we have no reason to believe they won’t,” Smith said.

He said testing nurses will not only help stop the spread of the illness but will also allow them to get the help they need if they get sick. And, it will help prevent health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight from bringing the disease home to their families, Smith said.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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