How are hospitals handling staffing challenges during a COVID-19 surge?
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We’re in a COVID-19 surge: over a 100,000 new cases every day in the U.S. for more than a week.
Now we’re also seeing an all-time high of COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 61,964 on Tuesday.
Hospitals, doctors, nurses and the entire staff in many places are all struggling to meet the demand.
Back in the spring when COVID-19 hospitalizations were surging in a handful of cities, medical personnel from across the country packed up and traveled to hot spots to help.
But now as cases surge to all-time highs in many states, “the problem is the country itself is almost one big hot spot,” said Dave Dillon, a spokesperson for the Missouri Hospital Association. In parts of Missouri, hospital beds are almost full.
“Our biggest issue currently is staffing,” Dillon said. “We have bed capacity, but beds are only as good as your ability to put the staffing resource beside them.”
Some hospitals are short-staffed because their own people are sick, or quarantining, or in some places there just wasn’t enough staff to begin with, said Cynthia Cox, vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“That’s particularly acute in rural areas where it’s just harder to attract the workforce that hospitals need,” she said.
Christine Petersen, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa, said in her state, rural hospitals are sending patients to the already-strapped larger hospitals. So COVID-19 care at those facilities is partly provided by “people who are trained for other things, not specialist in these areas of pulmonary care, infectious diseases,” she said.
Getting reassigned worries Lisa Ford. She’s a nurse at hospital system affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis. Like many of her colleagues, she has a child at home whom she’s helping with remote learning.
“I feel like people are just — they’re tired. They’re worn down. It just feels relentless; it feels never-ending. It’s frustrating,” Ford said.
Not to mention, cases are rising in Missouri.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.
U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.
What do I need to know about tax season this year?
Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.
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