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A group of nurses gathered in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday to speak out against new California state guidance that lets coronavirus-positive health care workers return to work amid the staffing shortages hitting hospitals.

The California Department of Public Health issued new guidance over the weekend that lets health care workers who test positive for the virus or are exposed to it to return to work immediately — without isolation and without testing — if they are asymptomatic and wearing N95 masks.

State officials said the changes, in place through Feb. 1, were made “due to the critical staffing shortages currently being experienced across the health care continuum because of the rise in the Omicron variant.”

But nurses participating in Tuesday’s protest said the new guidance puts patients and workers at risk.

Ellina Abovian reports for the KTLA 5 News on Jan. 11, 2021.