Northern Light Health updates quarantine, isolation guidelines for healthcare workers

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 5:39 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Northern Light Health is updating its quarantine and isolation guidelines for healthcare workers.

Under the updated policy, staff who meet certain criteria can return to work in seven to 10 days during typical operations, and as few as five days under surge response.

The new policy comes as Northern Light experiences an all-time high of employees out due to COVID-19.

According to Chief People Officer Paul Bolin, there are 493 employees out Wednesday, either with active illness or awaiting test results.

Bolin says that accounts for four percent of the workforce and is more than double what it was a month ago.

He says they’re prepared for that number to increase following holiday gatherings and Omicron’s spread in Maine.

“Those employees who are testing positive, the vast majority of those are employees who have identified community exposures through community activities, holiday events, family events, social gatherings, etc., oftentimes unmasking. And so, masking continues as well as being vaccinated and fully boosted really is, you know, a critical piece, and I know as we walk up and down the street and in stores and other areas, masking is a critical component to our safety, and it’s an, outside work behaviors is really a significant safety issue for our staff, as well as for our community at large,” said Bolin.

Bolin says there’s currently no plan to mandate booster shots for employees, but they are strongly recommended.

MaineHealth reports 842 members of its care team were unable to come to work Wednesday morning due to COVID-19.

The systems says the surge is likely due to the highly contagious Omicron variant.

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