SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Some California nurses are saying they’re disappointed with the California Department of Public Health’s new “Return to Work” guidance.

That guidance says those who have tested positive for COVID or were exposed but are asymptomatic may return to work immediately without isolation or further testing.

The California Department of Public Health says this is just a temporary change due to critical staffing shortages because of the rise of the omicron variant.

One nurse says this could result in more healthcare professionals getting sick, and then she wonders who will be left to care for their patients?

“It is morally distressing and physically exhausting that we continue to do this 2 years into the pandemic,” she said.

The California Nurses Association is condemning the California Department of Public Health’s decision to send asymptomatic or exposed healthcare workers back to work without isolation or testing.

“It will put our nurses and healthcare workers at risk. Therefore further increasing the risk of further covid infection and illnesses for our patients.”

Registered nurse and president of the nurses association, Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, says we need to continue to take COVID seriously.

She says for some people, the virus may seem minor, but it impacts everyone differently.

“For some people, maybe they just got the cold. That’s all well and good but we never know what else will develop after that cold.”

The state’s department of health says this change is in preparation for an anticipated surge in COVID patients because of the omicron variant.

They do recommend that healthcare professionals that test positive try to separate from other workers and wear an N95 mask at all times.

“We will do the best we can given what we have and given the situation that we are in,” Triunfo-Cortez said.

The nurses’ association is hoping that by speaking out the department of public health will reconsider the changes.

“We’re hoping and urging the governor and the CDPH to rescind their decision because what we and is for our patients to get well and our nurses to stay healthy and safe,” Triunfo-Cortez said.

The guidance from the CDPH does says that before facilities implement these temporary changes, they must have made every attempt to bring in additional staff and considered modifications to staffing.