US hospitals run out of nurses as they are inundated with COVID-19 – .

US hospitals run out of nurses as they are inundated with COVID-19 – .

The rapid rise in COVID-19 infections across the United States has caused a shortage of nurses and other frontline staff in virus hotspots who can no longer keep up with the flow of unvaccinated patients and lose workers through burnout and gainful employment. temporary state concerts.

Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oregon all have more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any other time during the pandemic, and nurses are under high demand.

In Florida, cases of the virus have filled so many hospital beds that ambulance services and firefighters are scrambling to respond to emergencies. Some patients wait up to an hour in ambulances before hospitals in St. Petersburg, Florida can admit them – a process that typically takes around 15 minutes, Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said.

A person who suffered a heart attack was fired from six hospitals before finding an emergency room in New Orleans that could accommodate them, said Joe Kanter, Louisiana’s director of public health.

“It’s a really dire situation,” Kanter said. “There just aren’t enough trained staff in the state right now to care for all of these patients. “

Michelle Thomas, a registered nurse and emergency department manager at a hospital in Tucson, Ariz., Quit three weeks ago after hitting a wall.

“There was never a time when we could just catch our breath,” Thomas said Tuesday. “I’ve reached this point ΓǪ I can’t do this anymore. I am so exhausted. “

She has helped other nurses find themselves alone in rooms with dying patients and hold cell phones so family members can say their final farewells.

“It’s like incredibly trying and traumatic,” said Thomas, who is unsure if she will ever return to nursing.

Miami’s Jackson Memorial Health System, Florida’s largest medical provider, has lost nurses to recruiting agencies, other hospitals and pandemic exhaustion, executive vice president Julie Staub said. The hospital CEO says nurses are drawn to jobs in other states at double and triple the pay.

Staub said hospitals in the system have started paying retention bonuses to nurses who agree to stay for a specified period. To cover shortages, nurses who agree to work longer receive the regular overtime rate and a half, plus $ 500 per additional 12-hour shift. Even with this, the hospital sometimes still has to turn to agencies to fill vacancies.

“You see people chasing dollars,” Staub said. “If they have the opportunity to take and go somewhere else and live for a week, months, whatever and make more money, that’s a very attractive thing to do. I think every healthcare system faces this. “

According to the Florida Hospital Association, nearly 70% of Florida hospitals expect a critical staff shortage next week.

In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown announced on Tuesday that state employees must be fully immunized by October 18 or six weeks after a COVID-19 vaccine receives full federal approval, whichever is later. both. His office planned to announce a statewide indoor mask requirement on Wednesday.

“Oregon is facing an increase in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 – composed overwhelmingly of unvaccinated individuals – quickly overtaking the darker days of our winter influx,” Brown said. “When our hospitals are full, there will be no room for additional patients requiring care. “

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday ordered state officials to use recruiting agencies to find additional medical staff across state borders as the delta variant overwhelms its current staff resources . He also sent a letter to the Texas Hospital Association asking that hospitals voluntarily postpone all elective medical procedures.

Parts of Europe have so far avoided a similar hospital crisis, despite widespread dissemination of the delta variant, with the help of vaccines.

The UK had more than 5,900 COVID-19 patients in hospitals on Monday, but the latest wave has not overwhelmed medical centers. On Tuesday, the government said 75% of adults had been fully immunized.

The same was true in Italy, where summer infections did not lead to any spikes in hospital admissions, intensive care admissions or deaths. About 3,200 people in the country of 60 million people were hospitalized Tuesday in regular services or intensive care units, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.

Italian health officials advising the government on the pandemic attribute the relatively small number of hospitals to the country’s vaccination campaign, which has fully vaccinated 64.5% of Italians aged 12 or older.

The United States averages more than 116,000 new coronavirus infections per day and about 50,000 hospitalizations, levels not seen since the winter wave. Unlike other points in the pandemic, hospitals now have more non-COVID patients for everything from car accidents to surgeries that were postponed during the outbreak.

This put even more of a burden on nurses who were already tired after dealing with constant deaths among patients and illnesses in their ranks.

“For the record, I see more and more nurses saying, ‘I’m leaving, I’ve had enough,’” said Gerard Brogan, director of nursing practice at National Nurses United, an umbrella organization of nursing unions. ‘nurses across the United States “” The risk to me and my family is just too great. “

Hawaii is seeing more new cases of the virus daily than ever before.

In the emergency department of a Honolulu hospital, patients had to wait for more than 24 hours for beds on stretchers in a curtain section because there were not enough staff to open more beds said nurse Patrick Switzer.

“Someone who has been sitting in the emergency room for 30 hours is miserable,” he said.

He described being “in this constant state of anxiety knowing that you don’t have the tools you need to take care of your patients because we are so exhausted.”

COVID-19-related hospitalizations have now surpassed the previous worst wave of the pandemic in Florida, with no sign of abating, setting a record 13,600 on Monday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 2,800 required intensive care. At the height of last year’s summer outbreak, there were more than 10,170 hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

At Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, Florida, the number of COVID-19 patients has doubled every week over the past month, wearing out already short staff, said Penny Ceasar, who handles admissions there.

The hospital has set up overflow areas to cope with the increase in admissions. Some staff have fallen ill with COVID-19.

“It’s just difficult. We’re just tired. I just want this thing to end, ”Ceasar said. “It’s just difficult. We’re just tired. I just want this thing to end, ”Ceasar said.


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