Hospitals are so understaffed, health officials are allowing nurses and other staff to continue working even when they are infected with the coronavirus.

I never thought I would see a day where at a hospital where they are ones to care for the sick, are having to care for others while they are sick as well, but sadly that day has come.

The omicron variant is spreading more rapidly than any other strain of the virus that has come along so far. You combine that with hospitals that are already short staff members, you have a serious problem going on in our healthcare system.

Some hospital employees have walked away from the job all together while others are out with severe symptoms of COVID-19. This is making it very difficult for Hospitals to manage the increasing number of patients. So much so that if staff members are symptom-free or have light symptoms they are allowing workers to continue on the job.

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According to WOOD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that if health care workers have no symptoms they can return to work in seven days with a negative test but if a hospital is short-handed they may cut their isolation time to try and stay staffed.

Hospitals are doing everything they can to ensure employees' safe return to work while protecting their patients, but with cases rising faster than employees can get back to work, this is becoming a much more daunting task.

Those infected workers that are staying on the job are required to wear extra-protective N95 masks and other protective gear. They are assigned to COVID-19 patients only.

The omicron variant has yet to peak in West Michigan but area hospitals are already feeling the impact of the virus along with staffing issues. This is going to be a tough winter for area hospitals.

It is important for everyone to get back to wearing masks while indoors, especially where there are high numbers of people. Social distancing is a must when in public. We all know how to do this and should get back to the basics of protecting ourselves from this virus.

COVID-19 isn't like chickenpox, you don't catch it once and are done with the virus. Even if vaccinated you can catch it again, but with vaccination, your symptoms are most likely going to be mild and that will keep you out of the hospital.

If you haven't gotten your booster shot yet, now is as good of a time as any.

The best advice I heard from a doctor recently was to protect yourself and assume everyone else has the virus.

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