Covid-positive health workers asked to keep working as crisis worsens

Health workers in some hospitals in Liege, Belgium’s third largest city and a coronavirus hotspot, have been asked to continue working even if they test positive for Covid-19 — as long as they are not showing any symptoms of the disease.



a bus that is parked on the side of a road: An ambulance is seen at the hospital CHC Montlegia in Liege, Belgium, on Friday 23 October 2020.


© Bruno Fahy/Belga Mag/AFP/Getty Images
An ambulance is seen at the hospital CHC Montlegia in Liege, Belgium, on Friday 23 October 2020.

Top health official have warned that Belgium could run out of intensive care beds in as little as two weeks and some hospitals are facing staff shortages. The country of 11.5 million people has reported on average more than 13,000 cases a day in the past week, according to the national public health institute Sciensano. The Covid-19 outbreak in Belgium is the second worst in Europe in terms of new cases per capita, after only the Czech Republic.

Yves Van Laethem, Belgium’s spokesperson for the fight against the coronavirus, warned that unless Belgians change their behavior, intensive care units will reach their capacity of 2,000 patients in 15 days.

Liege, the largest city in the French-speaking Wallonia region, has the highest incidence rate in Belgium. Tje communications director of Liege University Hospital, Louis Maraite, told CNN on Tuesday that because of staff shortages, the hospital had “no choice” but to make doctors and nurses who tested positive but have no symptoms come to work.

“This is not a problem as they are working in coronavirus units with patients who also tested positive,” he added. Maraite said that health workers with Covid-19 accounted for 5% to 10% of the total hospital workforce.

Health workers who show symptoms, such as fever, have been asked not to come to work, and Maraite said the hospital could not force asymptomatic health workers to show up.

Another Liège hospital, CHC MontLégia, also confirmed to CNN that positive asymptomatic health workers have been asked to continue working on a voluntary basis and in the “strict observance of sanitary measures” that include limiting contact with their colleagues.

Video: ‘Great Influenza’ author outlines what herd immunity supporters won’t say (CNN)

‘Great Influenza’ author outlines what herd immunity supporters won’t say

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

The spokesperson for the private hospital’s communication department told CNN that positive asymptomatic staff are working mainly in Covid-19 units but can work across all units including those with non-covid patients, except the geriatric, neonatology and oncology departments, where patients are “particularly vulnerable”.

A spokeswoman for the Belgian Health Ministry told CNN allowing asymptomatic health workers to continue working is allowed in “very strict conditions” because there are not enough health care workers. “We try to ensure the security of all patients,” she added.

At a news conference Monday, Van Laethem said that 1,000 of the country’s intensive beds are already being used, with total of 1,250 set to be occupied by the end of the week. Both hospital and intensive care admissions are doubling every eight days, he added.

In an interview with state broadcaster RTBF on Monday,

Read more

Alabama’s lt. governor is COVID-positive. Y’all don’t be so negative.

This is an opinion column.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth is getting some nasty messages since he tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Guess Karma and Natural Selection caught up with your dumb white ass,” said one email Ainsworth shared with me. “May you die gasping for your last breath!”

It’s probably not a spiritually safe practice to invoke karma in one sentence before wishing someone death in the next, but moving on.

“You’re 1 step closer to (skull emoji, coffin emoji, laughing-through-tears emoji),” one fellow tweeted at him.

Yes, when sending hate-tweets, please limit your hieroglyphics to three.

Let’s be clear, no matter how you feel about Ainsworth, wishing death on people is not OK. No matter how cathartic it might feel, it’s not good for your soul, and from a more secular standpoint, it just gives the folks you’re hate-mailing more reason to believe you’re crazy and they’re right.

Which is a shame, because I believe there’s a lesson the lieutenant governor could learn here, and I think there’s a better message he could send than the one he’s been sharing, before and after his diagnosis.

Since Ainsworth went public with his test (points for transparency), he has been a bit defensive about it. That’s understandable. The lieutenant governor has criticized Gov. Kay Ivey for keeping a statewide mask mandate in place, and he’s said the decision whether to wear a mask should be left to the individual. He still says that, even now.

But Wednesday night, Ainsworth wanted to make clear he’d been wearing a mask when he thinks he contracted the disease.

“Because I follow social distancing rules and wear a mask both in church and in my daily interactions, the positive result shows that even those of us who are the most cautious can be at risk,” he said.

Now, others on social media have found pictures of Ainsworth not doing either of those things. Heck, he shares them on Twitter. But I’ll let that be.

Again, there’s a bigger lesson to be learned here.

Ainsworth tested positive on Wednesday and says he suspects he contracted the disease at his church on Sunday. Aside from a runny nose — which he told me allergies give him much of the year — he hasn’t had any symptoms. He had been active on Monday and Tuesday, and he played tennis the night before he tested positive. If it weren’t for his pastor informing him a member of his Sunday school class had fallen ill, Ainsworth says he might never have checked.

And that’s the thing. And let’s shout this one so the sinners’ pew can hear it: Masks aren’t to protect you from the disease; they protect others when you have the disease and don’t know it.

It doesn’t matter so much whether Ainsworth wore a mask at church. It matters whether the person he got it from was wearing a mask.

And it matters less whether he was wearing a mask on Sunday than if he wore

Read more