GILBERT, Ariz. - With the omicron variant running rampant across the U.S., Arizona's largest health system is allowing employees who were infected with COVID-19 to return to work if they are asymptomatic, or have mild symptoms.
Officials with Banner Health say workers will have to wear N95 or KN95 masks for 10 days after a positive test, a policy that is similar to the one in place at Dignity Health, following updated CDC guidelines.
The new policy isn't without its opponents, as loved ones of a Banner Health triage nurse who is fighting for her life after getting infected with COVID-19 say they are deeply concerned by the new policy.
Triage nurse put on ventilator at one point
We first reported on Michelle Barron's COVID-19 battle on Jan. 5. Barron, who was vaccinated, contracted COVID-19 in December. The nurse who triaged so many COVID-19 patients was put on a ventilator.
"Good days and bad days. I would say more good days than bad days, though," said Barron's daughter, Veronica Barron. "We really just try to look at the positive, because in a situation where you have no idea how it’s going to end, you have to only think about the positive."
Since then, Barron started improving, and was recently moved into another care unit.
Family concerned over new policy
Barron's family is reacting to the new policy change by Banner Health.
"[Michelle]’s awake, but now she’s exposed to more COVID, and oh my goodness, it’s like we can’t catch a break," said Veronica.
Veronica says they learned one of her mother’s care team members tested positive two days ago. She stressed they don’t blame the employees at all, but question the policy.
"Desperate times call for desperate measures, but this is way too far," said Veronica.
Veronica is worried because her mother was infected with COVID by the delta variant, and she does not know what omicron exposure might mean.
"She’s terrified. She’s so scared. Like, I just want to go home. I can’t do this anymore," said Veronica.
Banner officials say their policy is in line with CDC recommendations.
More COVID-19 in Arizona news
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Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news
Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu.
Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.
CDC Website for COVID-19
https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)
AZDHS Website for COVID-19