Nebraska hospitals continue to struggle amid Omicron surge

It's something we have heard from hospitals for the better part of the last two years, the health care system is struggling. With the new COVID variant, Omicron, officials say, it's only getting worse.

LINCOLN, Neb(KLKN)- It’s something we have heard from hospitals for the better part of the last two years, the health care system is struggling. With the new COVID variant, Omicron, officials say, it’s only getting worse.

“Being able to accept patients from other facilities, we typically will, you know, turn down maybe about 10% of those calls in a typical year. Right now, we’re turning away 30 to 35% of those calls,” Ivan Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Great Plains Health – North Platte, said.

Since December 26th, the percent of people testing positive weekly has risen by over 15% in the state of Nebraska.

From COVID patients to even car accident or heart attack patients, wait times for care and even transfers are going up.

“I would say individually, for those who are the sickest, the wait times to get the care they need, has went up dramatically. What that is, I don’t know. But there are times where we’re seeing 4, 8, 10 hours to find a bed for someone who needs intensive ICU care or surgery and a larger community,” Todd Consbruck, President & CEO, Avera St. Anthony’s – O’Neill, said.

On top of the rising number of COVID cases, the health care system is seeing a staffing shortage like never before. Methodist, who has numerous hospitals in Nebraska and Iowa, currently has 904 open positions. While not all of them are nurses, they are still personnel that keep the hospitals operating.

“I’ve been in health care for over 20 years and the as far as the labor shortage goes, I’ve seen the labor markets, you know, kind of come and go there’s been peaks, there’s been valleys, but you know, in my time I’ve never seen a staffing situation like it is right now,” Mitchell said.

As nurses and doctors continue to provide care throughout this ongoing pandemic, they are asking people to remember a few things. First, get vaccinated, it could save your life. Second, remember to have a little compassion for the people who are working day in and day out to keep your loved ones alive.

“Be patient with all of our health care workers, if you do have to come into the hospital because they’re very tired. From a physical, emotional, mental health wellbeing standpoint, this continues to cycle for them, and it’s very stressful and very traumatic for some,”

Categories: Coronavirus, Nebraska News, News