Local hospitals face staffing struggles

Coronavirus

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — In addition to the rising COVID-19 case numbers, local hospitals are seeing an increase of staff members needing to be quarantined.

For the majority of staff members being quarantined at both BSA and Northwest Texas Hospital, it has been due to exposure to COVID-19 in the community.

In today’s City COVID-19 Briefing, before diving into everything happening at Northwest Texas Hospital, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brian Weis said that he is flabbergasted.

“Just because you have a bed available doesn’t mean you can use it, if you don’t have a highly trained staff member to help take care of the person in that bed,” said Dr. Weis.

Dr. Weis reported that 50 staff members at Northwest are being quarantined.

He later added that Northwest’s staffing challenges are “beginning to outweigh the actual number of beds we have in the hospital.”

Dr. Michael Lamanteer, BSA Chief Medical Officer, reported 69 staff members are in quarantine. 29 of the 69 being nurses.

He explained, “Those are 29 nurses that we had to remove from the work force transiently, so that we can get them through the appropriate quarantine period, as outlined by the CDC, and then reinstitute them back into the work place when we know it’s safer then to do so.”

As an effort to provide extra help, the Panhandle’s Regional Advisory Council (RAC) has sent nurses to both local hospitals.

This week, BSA received 16 nurses from the RAC, along with 6 respiratory therapists. As for Northwest, Dr. Weis said they were provided about 20.

Dr. Weis additionally stated that Northwest Texas Hospital staff members that are in quarantine are there either due to significant exposure to COVID-19 or because they have tested positive.


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