COVID-19 case rise putting strain on hospital staffing

COVID-19 raising staffing concerns for Wilbarger General

TEXOMA, Texas (TNN) - With COVID-19 cases rising across Texas, hospital bed capacity isn’t the only thing hospitals are worrying about. Doctors and nurses getting sick or having to quarantine are putting a strain on the system.

65 staff members with United Regional are home quaranting as of Tuesday, and hospitals all over the area are seeing similar numbers. Nurses are dealing with a larger patient to nurse ratio and officials said they have to start preparing now for it to keep getting worse.

“We don’t know what the end result is going to be so it’s better to be prepared and plan ahead," Jennifer Edwards, the acute care director for Wilbarger General Hospital, said.

There nurses are being pulled from different units across the hospital to meet the demand of its COVID patients.

“Whenever I have an increase in my COVID unit, it reduces staff on my med surge unit, which makes them have to hold six or more patients a piece,” Edwards explained.

“So we have a lot of staff who have either been exhausted or who have gotten the COVID,” Tonya Price, the chief operating officer for the hospital, added.

United Regional will max out at 250 patients but president Phyllis Cowling said it won’t be space that causes an issue first.

She said, “we are limited by our staff availability before we are limited by our physical capabilities.”

As Jennifer Edwards pointed out it’s not just the amount of COVID-19 patients she’s seeing but it’s the severity .

“I’ve had four patients that I’ve had to intubate on a ventilator,” she said.

As cases continue to rise with no end in sight, hospitals everywhere are urging people to take the pandemic seriously and follow C-D-C guidelines.

“Still make sure you’re wearing your mask and washing your hands,” Price said.

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