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As they become overwhelmed with COVID, hospitals run out of nurses

A rapid increase in COVID-19 infection rates in the U.S. has led to a shortage in nurses and other front-line personnel in virus hotspots. They are unable to keep up with the influx of unvaccinated patients, and are losing staff to burnout or lucrative out-of state temporary jobs.

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As they become overwhelmed with COVID, hospitals run out of nurses

Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida all have more COVID-19-infected people than any other point during the pandemic. Nursing staff are being stretched to their limits.

Florida's virus cases have overwhelmed hospital beds, so fire and ambulance services are struggling to respond to emergency calls. Barry Burton, Pinellas County Administrator, said that some patients are kept waiting in ambulances for over an hour before they can be admitted to St. Petersburg's hospitals. This usually takes around 15 minutes.

Joe Kanter, Louisiana’s chief public health officer, stated that a person who had suffered a heart attack, was treated at six hospitals before being admitted to New Orleans.

Kanter stated, "It is a very dire situation." Kanter stated, "There is not enough state staff to provide care for all these patients."

According to Julie Staub, executive vice president of Jackson Memorial Health System in Miami, Florida, the largest provider of medical services, nurses are being lost to staffing agencies and other hospitals. According to the hospital's CEO, nurses are being lured away to work in other states for double or triple the salary.

Staub stated that system hospitals now offer retention bonuses to nurses who commit to staying for a certain period of time. Nurses who are willing to work an extra shift in order to meet shortages will receive the usual overtime time-and-a half and $500 per 12-hour shift. Even with this, sometimes the hospital has to turn to other agencies to fill vacancies.

Staub stated, "You're seeing people chase the dollars." It is very attractive to be able to move to another place and live there for a week or months and make more money. That is a problem that every health care system faces, I believe.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Governor, directed Monday that state officials use staffing agencies to locate additional medical staff beyond their borders in the event of the state's current staffing shortage. He has also written a letter to Texas Hospital Association requesting that hospitals delay all elective procedures.

Despite widespread distribution of the delta variant, parts of Europe have avoided a similar crisis in hospitals so far.

On Monday, the United Kingdom had over 5,900 COVID-19-infected patients in its hospitals. However, this latest surge has not affected medical centers. The government reported Tuesday that 75 percent of adults had been fully vaccinated.

It was the same in Italy. Summer infections haven't caused any increase in hospital admissions, intensive-care admissions or deaths. According to figures from the Health Ministry, around 3,200 people were admitted Tuesday to regular wards and ICUs in the country of 60 million.

Italian health officials advising the government about the pandemic blame the contained hospital numbers on the country's vaccination campaign. This has fully vaccinated 64.5% Italians aged 12 and older.

More than 116,000 coronavirus infections are being reported daily in the United States. This is an increase of nearly 50,000 hospitalizations since the winter surge. Hospitals now have more non COVID patients than at any other point in the pandemic. This includes everything from car accidents to postponed surgeries during the outbreak.

This has added to the burden for nurses already tired from dealing with the constant death of patients and other illnesses.

Gerard Brogan, Director of Nursing Practice with National Nurses United said, "Anecdotally I'm seeing more nurses say, "I'm leaving, it's too much,""

The COVID-19 hospitalizations now surpass the pandemic's worst surge in Florida. There are no signs of slowing down. A record of 13,600 was set Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 2,800 people required intensive care. More than 11,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations were made during the summer surge.

According to Penny Ceasar who manages admissions at Westside Regional Medical Center, Plantation, Florida COVID patients have been increasing in number each week since the beginning of the month.

To accommodate increased COVID admissions, the hospital converted excess areas. Some staff members have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

It's hard. We are just tired. Ceasar stated, "I just want it over."

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