‘We are in crisis mode’ – Nursing staff down, COVID case up

A shortage of medical staff has led to issues around the state, including locally. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and medical personnel from around the state covered the issue during a Tuesday update.

“We are in a crisis mode. As compared to last year, our nursing staff is down probably 50 percent. We have nurses leaving the field, retiring early, or finding jobs elsewhere because of the long hours and the emotional strain,” said Alan Rivera, M.D., Hospitalist, Fulton County Health Center. “On top of that, our COVID numbers are now going up. In June and July I didn’t see any COVID patients. Now, the majority of the census in our hospital are COVID patients, and they’re younger, anywhere from 30 to 50.”

Fulton County Health Center currently has extra physical space but not the people to run it. “It does us no good to put the physical part of that [plan] in play when you don’t have the medical resources and the staffing to implement and take care of those physical locations in that emergency plan,” said Rivera

“I believe we had a wonderful plan last year. And thank the Lord we never had to implement it last year. And now we’re getting the surge this year that we’re feeling. Not because we have more COVID patients, but because we have less staffing to take care of the same amount of COVID patients.”

He went on to thank the nurses coming in to do their job everyday.

Rivera also said that turning patients away is not an option, despite staffing issues.

“We haven’t brought that to the table,” he said. “If you come to our hospital, we’re going to do everything in our power to take cafe of you in one way, shape or form. It may be a little primitive in the emergency department at times, but not treating is not currently an option that we’re willing to even look at at our facility at this time.”