COVID-19 Strains Hospital Staffing

November 20, 2020

As the COVID-19 surges again, hospitals are running out. In the spring, when the pandemic initially hit, hospitals ran out of personal protection equipment. Then some started running out of space, and a number of cities used temporary buildings to house overflow patients. Now, though, hospitals are running out of workers.

The reports have come in from all across the country: Hospitals are filling up, especially in the Midwest, and they are running out of the staff they need to take care of patients, according to The Atlantic. Last week, the United States broke its record from April for the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, blowing past 60,000 all the way to 73,000, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Now new data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) quantify the crisis in America’s hospitals in closer detail. HHS provided data on the number of hospitals experiencing staffing shortages. From Nov. 4 to Nov. 11, 958 hospitals — 19 percent of U.S. hospitals — faced a staffing shortage. This week, 1,109 hospitals reported that they expect to face a staffing shortage. That’s 22 percent of all American hospitals.

In eight states, the situation is even more dire. More than 35 percent of hospitals in Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin are anticipating a staffing shortage this week.

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