In this file:
· COVID In Colorado: Rural Hospitals Concerned About Bed, Staffing Shortages
· At Their Breaking Point’: Nurses Fume After North Dakota Lets COVID-Infected Medical Workers Stay on the Job
COVID In Colorado: Rural Hospitals Concerned About Bed, Staffing Shortages
By Conor McCue, CBS Denver (CO)
November 11, 2020
DENVER (CBS4) – Amidst a third wave of COVID-19, some critical access hospitals and rural health clinics are having a much different experience than during earlier waves. This time, some are already filling up and others are dealing with staff shortages.
At Melissa Memorial Hospital in Holyoke, elective surgeries are on hold once again, and financial concerns are compounding.
“We really haven’t recovered from the loss in revenue that we had the first round, and now we’re into this second wave which has different kinds of components for us,” said CEO Cathy Harshbarger. “So, how is this going to play out for all of us in rural America?”
While the combination of dwindling revenues and increased costs is a long-term concern for Harshbarger, a more immediate one is bed space.
The facility, which is licensed for 15 beds, is currently working at surge capacity, treating 15 COVID-19 positive patients and 3 non-COVID-19 patients. Ten of those patients came to the hospital from a nursing home in neighboring Logan County that requested assistance last week.
Soon, finding hospitals with open beds will be easier, as the Colorado Hospital Association is working to set up a statewide Combined Hospital Transfer Center. When it’s live, it will be a centralized resource where hospitals can coordinate patient care, should one start nearing capacity or reach capacity.
“We need to be able to take care of those patients that otherwise would overwhelm hospitals where higher levels of care is required,” Harshbarger said.
In Hugo, Lincoln Community Hospital has open beds, but is currently dealing with another dilemma. CEO, Kevin Stansbury, described his staffing levels last week as “touch and go.”
“Because of the dramatic increase in Lincoln County, we saw, first of all, a number of our staff became positive, so we had to adjust how we were managing our staffing,” Stansbury said.
On Wednesday, Stansbury said some of the staff was starting to come back into the normal rotation, but staff shortages are an ongoing concern...
more, including video report [2:41 min.]
At Their Breaking Point’: Nurses Fume After North Dakota Lets COVID-Infected Medical Workers Stay on the Job
“If we are saying we can go back to work after testing positive—how do we expect the public to take this pandemic seriously?” one nurse told the Beast.
Pilar Melendez, The Daily Beast
Nov. 12, 2020
At one hospital in North Dakota, nurses are being forced to test patients for the deadly coronavirus with only a surgical mask. And across the state, scores of nurses are working several overnight shifts in a row, scared to speak up as North Dakota grapples with a rapid coronavirus spike that’s left hospitals facing a dangerous shortage of beds.
On Monday, state officials announced a seemingly counterproductive band-aid to combat the tidal wave of cases that have overwhelmed the mostly rural hospital system: COVID-19 positive nurses and other health-care workers can come to work.
Now, nurses are mad as hell.
“Nurses are very highly trusted in our community, and if we are saying we can go back to work after testing positive—how do we expect the public to take this pandemic seriously?” Tessa Johnson, the president of the North Dakota Nurses Association Johnson, told The Daily Beast.
“I have heard that from a lot of people that they are at their breaking point. I think we are going to lose nurses from this. It has affected everyone in a different way,” she added.
But while several North Dakota nurses told The Daily Beast they are “terrified” of the virus, they insist they’ll still show up for their increasingly dangerous jobs because “that’s what nurses do.”
“Nurses don’t feel safe. They don’t feel like they have adequate PPE and everyone is concerned about short staffing and they don’t feel supported by state leadership,” Johnson, who is also the executive director at a senior long-term care facility, said. “But they are going to continue to go to work and put themselves at risk because that’s just what nurses do—even if they are hanging by a thread.”
As of Monday, North Dakota medical professionals with asymptomatic COVID-19 cases can continue to work in COVID-19 units at hospitals and nursing homes. It’s one of several steps taken by hospitals and officials as part of their “surge plans” to curtail the virus that has moved the entire state into the “high-risk” category.
“This applies only to COVID-positive health-care workers who do not have symptoms and they are allowed only to work COVID units around patients who already have the virus,” North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said Monday.
The move, Burgum insisted, aligns with CDC guidelines that allow asymptomatic medical personnel to work during severe staff shortages...
more, including links