Duval County

Florida hospitals expecting critical staffing shortages in the next week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hospitals across Florida are not only dealing with a surplus of COVID-19 cases from the most recent surge, but also short staffing issues.

According to the Florida Hospital Association, 70 percent of hospitals are expecting critical staffing shortages in the next week.

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“Anytime we see a huge spike in cases we are also going to see a shortage in staffing because we are being exposed,” said Dr. Mohammed Reza, a local infectious disease specialist.

Action News Jax reached out to local hospitals for staffing numbers — a UF Health spokesperson said between two facilities they have “staffing stresses” but don’t think the situation is critical.

Mayo Clinic said in a statement: “Mayo Clinic in Florida is not expecting any critical staffing shortages that would impact patient care at this time.”

Baptist Health sent Action News Jax the following statement:

“Like most health systems, Baptist Health is constantly working to recruit and retain the best team members. As the area’s largest private employer, we will always have open positions due to the expansion of services, relocations, retirements, and more. We appreciate all the extra hours our nurses and other team members have worked to meet our community’s health care needs during this surge, and throughout the pandemic.”

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Dr. Reza said the delta surge is unlike anything else.

“We are seeing the COVID nightmare in our hospitals on a daily basis and this surge is unlike anything we’ve experienced in the hospital setting,” Dr. Reza said.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the state had a three day average from last Friday-Sunday of 18,795 daily COVID-19 cases.

“It doesn’t matter how many ventilators we have or how many beds we have open up, you need staffing,” Dr. Reza said.

Dr. Reza said vaccinations are the best way to keep people out of hospitals and masking helps the line of defense against transmission.