×

Nurses don't back positive asymptomatic colleagues working

BISMARCK (AP) — The North Dakota Nurses Association said it does not support a move to allow health care workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms to remain on the job.

Gov. Doug Burgum supports the idea as part of an effort to ease stress both on hospitals and medical personnel trying to keep up with skyrocketing coronavirus cases in North Dakota.

The nurses association said the move is not a long-term solution to the problem of staffing shortages at North Dakota hospitals. Instead, the group said all other “scientifically proven preventative measures such as mandating mask wearing” should be “deployed before implementing this particular strategy.”

Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said the move “was never meant to be part of a long-term strategy.”

Burgum has avoided statewide mandates such as mask-wearing and business occupancies, instead stressing a personal responsibility message.

The governor said hospital administrators asked for the action to be taken and interim State Health Officer Dirk Wilke amended an order to allow it to take effect.

North Dakota has been one of the nation’s worst hot spots for daily new cases of the coronavirus for weeks. On Thursday, the state reported 1,801 new cases, with 11 deaths, including a man in his 20s from Benson County.