As coronavirus patients flooded New York hospitals this past weekend, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a new guideline: Health care workers who have been exposed to the virus should not be tested if they don’t have symptoms.
“Given current shortages [of personal protective equipment], collection swabs, viral transport media, and testing reagents, DO NOT TEST asymptomatic and/or exposed [health care workers],” read a memo distributed to health care providers and hospitals on March 21.
The memo also recommended that hospitals cease testing patients who show symptoms of the virus unless they require hospitalization.
Health professionals at major New York hospitals told BuzzFeed News they are concerned the new guidelines will cause health care workers who have contracted the virus but not yet shown symptoms to inadvertently infect patients or colleagues.
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