Local Hospitals Face Staffing Challenges As COVID-19 Surge Continues

Nov 19, 2020

Local hospitals are facing staff shortages due to an increase in COVID-19 patients.
Credit Photo provided courtesy of Goshen Health

Speaking at the state COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, Sarah Paturalski, Vice President of Nursing and Clinical Services at Beacon Health System, said that Beacon is 10 ICU beds over capacity, meaning staff has had to ration healthcare.

“People who need a screening colonoscopy or an outpatient elective procedure, we’re not able to do that right now," Paturalski said. "We need to deploy that staff to help us with the high-acuity cases we have on the inpatient side of the hospital.”

Dr. Dan Nafziger, Chief Medical Officer at Goshen Hospital, said that deployment creates its own issues. Healthcare workers, he said, just aren’t interchangeable.

“It’s not as if the person that would typically be doing a colonoscopy in the outpatient setting is the same person that you’d want running your ventilators and taking care of patients in an intensive care unit,” he said.

In order to prevent resources from becoming even more mismatched, Nafziger says the public needs to “[take] the virus seriously.” Paturalski said the state has done what it can, and now, it’s up to individuals to help their local doctors and nurses.

“We as a community need to do our part to help everyone in healthcare make it through this,” she said.

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo

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