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Do you think some states are testing people less to keep various workforces (including nurses) intact?

Posted

Specializes in Psych. Has 5 years experience.

Check this out:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/17/politics/texas-economy-reopen-testing-coronavirus/index.html

So I live and work in Houston as an RN. Per this article, Texas is near the bottom in per-capita Coronavirus testing. Also, here in Harris County, the testing rates have been abysmal.

Suppose there were mass testing of healthcare workers. That could mean many healthcare workers who are asymptomatic or low-level symptoms would show up positive, and then wouldn't be able to work. If that happens, these nurses and other workers have to stay home, which reduces the available pool of healthcare workers. And if that happens, the hospital systems have another crisis to manage.

Do you think they're deliberately causing a testing shortage for economic reasons?

laflaca, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

Short answer: No.

Long answer:

1) I work in public health in another state with abysmally low testing rates. Believe me when I tell you that people are working very, very hard to make testing available. The problem is the availability of swabs, media and reagants. The problem is a global supply chain.

2) The lab chains don't really have any financial incentive to help the hospitals out. They want to run tests and get paid for running them. And finally,

3) Our healthcare system isn't organized enough to support that kind of conspiracy

Laflaca nailed it.

You are right that if appropriate testing was done all hell would break loose.

But, no conspiracy.

The politicians aren't smart enough to figure out such a complex plan.:)

I think the reason behind low testing rates is the unavailability of tests. I think when the antibody test becomes available, the number of asymptomatic people will be staggering.

HiddenAngels

Has 7 years experience.

Yes to the original question, and for the reasons you stated, but I think testing will be available/possibly mandatory for us when the curve starts to flatten.

Schweet

Specializes in Tele RN on the West Coast. Has 11 years experience.

Laflaca appears to be correct. Also, if the hospitals need to keep enough staff the CDC has accounted for the possibility of healthcare workers falling ill as shown here:

CDC Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages

Maintaining appropriate staffing in healthcare facilities is essential to providing a safe work environment for healthcare personnel (HCP) and safe patient care. As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, staffing shortages will likely occur due to HCP exposures, illness, or need to care for family members at home. Healthcare facilities must be prepared for potential staffing shortages and have plans and processes in place to mitigate them, including considerations for permitting HCP to return to work without meeting all return to work criteria above. Refer to the Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages document for information.

In theory, they can send a Covid+ asymptomatic nurse back to work if needed. However, the spread of infection risks I assume, would have to be weighed against workforce need. It would seem hospitals would utilize travel nurses if available before risking that.

So no, no conspiracy noted.

-SW

malamud69, ADN, BSN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 11 years experience.

11 hours ago, signet said:

The politicians aren't smart enough to figure out such a complex plan.:)

I think the reason behind low testing rates is the unavailability of tests. I think when the antibody test becomes available, the number of asymptomatic people will be staggering.

Hmmm...while I agree with the statement concerning antibody testing, and that we will see a staggering number of people that have already been exposed I am not so sure I believe with the “aren’t smart enough” notion. If the powers that be could get away with such a scheme/are getting away with such a scheme...You can bet that they are doing that very thing… Remember ultimately this is profits over people-Has been for decades and will continue as such.

toomuchbaloney

Has 43 years experience.

On 4/17/2020 at 7:38 PM, laflaca said:

Short answer: No.

Long answer:

1) I work in public health in another state with abysmally low testing rates. Believe me when I tell you that people are working very, very hard to make testing available. The problem is the availability of swabs, media and reagants. The problem is a global supply chain.

2) The lab chains don't really have any financial incentive to help the hospitals out. They want to run tests and get paid for running them. And finally,

3) Our healthcare system isn't organized enough to support that kind of conspiracy

Indeed.

Public health is a shadow of what the country requires...

https://www.northernpublicradio.org/post/public-health-labs-suffered-budget-cuts-prior-coronavirus

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

I think they are for political reasons.

3 hours ago, Nurse SMS said:

I think they are for political reasons.

Who and how?

How does it work?

Not disagreeing, looking for clarification.

speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

I have mixed feelings about this. I know in my department and system only admitted patients are tested. However there are drive by clinics and urgent care clinics that have other testing. They will take a nurse out of work that is symptomatic for a few days to a week (sometimes longer depending on symptom severity). I can see where the conspiracy theory is coming from.....also think there is likely a shortage of tests....but tests ARE available, just not anywhere/everywhere.

Great news-

There are plenty of tests. Tests won't be a problem.

Our president was just on the news.

No specifics or detailed timeline, but he is a man of his word.