Nebraska healthcare systems urgent to find help as cases rise
It's a strong message we have heard through the past two years of the pandemic, healthcare systems are struggling but record breaking COVID case counts are pushing hospitals and workers to new extremes.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) –It’s a strong message we have heard through the past two years of the pandemic, healthcare systems are struggling but record breaking COVID case counts are pushing hospitals and workers to new extremes.
“There’s no doubt we are still in one of the darkest times of the pandemic right now,” Jeremy Nordquist, President of the Nebraska Hospital Association, said.
Since December 26th, Nebraska’s positivity rate has more than doubled, going from 11% to 27%. Hospitalizations are even worse jumping well over 40% in the last three weeks.
It’s pushing many hospitals to their limits.
“We do our very best to accommodate anybody who wants to come here. It really is hard to say no, that we are at our capacity as well. So, our numbers may be different but the message is really the same here across Nebraska. you know, COVID is still here,” Ed Hannon, President, CHI Health St. Francis, Grand Island, said.
On top of it all, a major workforce shortage is crippling the industry. If there are enough hospital beds for patients, there isn’t enough staff to take care of those sick.
Hospitals are desperate to find help, even finding themselves in bidding wars over traveling nurses.
“It’s a challenge you know, we’re all competing for the same travel staff. It’s it’s become, actually it’s become a pricing war. Who’s gonna pay the most on whether you’re going to get a nurse or not, sometimes location makes a difference or volume make it makes a difference. There’s not enough availability out there to fill all the positions,” Lori Mazanec, CEO of Box Butte General Hospital, Alliance, said.
On the bright side of things, officials say they have seen a small uptick in people initiating their first dose of the vaccine or people getting their booster shot.
They say it’s something that will help slow the spread of COVID, on top of wearing your mask.