UCLA nurses to protest for more COVID-19 protection measures

As part of a statewide day of action, registered nurses across the University of California system will hold rallies Tuesday. 

UCLA nurses are rallying at the Michigan Operation Center in Santa Monica, which is currently being used as a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. During Tuesday’s rally set to begin at 11:00 a.m., nurses are demanding that hospital administration notify frontline workers when they have been exposed to the coronavirus and guarantee timely access to testing. 

RELATED: Nurses demanding UCLA continue to remain fully staffed to deal with influx of COVID-19 patients

"It is appealing that nurses and other healthcare workers are not being notified when they have been exposed to Covid-19,” said Marcia Santini, an emergency room nurse. 

UCLA released the following statement Tuesday:

"The safety of our nurses, other employees and our patients is UCLA Health’s overriding priority. Employees with clinical responsibilities are required to complete a daily symptom tracking survey and demonstrate compliance before being cleared to enter UCLA Health hospitals and clinics. Employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone that has either tested positive or is suspected to have the virus are referred to a UCLA Health testing site for a free test. These protocols are consistent with guidelines established by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to minimize spread."

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information

The rallies are organized by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing nurses’ union is the second in Santa Monica since the start of the pandemic. In April, dozens of UCLA nurses rallied to demand more staffing and personal protective equipment (PPE). 

"With flu season and the winter bringing more respiratory issues for patients, we are preparing for our numbers to go up again," said Valerie Erwal who works as a registered nurse at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. 

Registered nurses at the University of California Irvine Medical Center (UCI) also plan to hold a rally to alert the public to their patient safety concerns as Orange County prepares for a winter surge in patient care. 

The California Nurses Association represents more than 16,000 nurses at the University of California including locally Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Torrence, and various medical clinics throughout Southern California.

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