Southcoast Health tackles workforce challenges amid increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients – Community News

Southcoast Health tackles workforce challenges amid increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients

(WPRI) — Hospital leaders at Southcoast Health say the COVID-19 situation in Massachusetts and the country is “critical.”

On Monday, the hospital system introduced a stricter visiting policy in an effort to admit visitors in a way that still keeps patients and staff safe.

dr. Dan Hackner, chief clinical officer at Southcoast Health, says emergency rooms are the most affected.

Hackner urges people to seek the appropriate level of care, which could mean contacting your GP or specialist, and going to an emergency care facility rather than the emergency room.

“Emergency care is often a very good choice for non-emergency, but urgent conditions,” Hackner said.

“But if you need emergency care, we want to make sure you have access to that care. We want to keep you safe and want you to come early for emergency care,” he continued.

Hackner also says the amount of virus now circulating in the community is high, and although hospitalizations are much lower than at the start of the pandemic, many people are still hospitalized. All this while the hospital system faces a staffing challenge.

The Herald News reports that more than 200 Southcoast Health medical workers were fired last Tuesday for refusing to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Hackner was unable to comment on the matter, but says the staff challenge has nothing to do with events in recent weeks.

“Our workforce challenge has been over the past year as the number of COVID and non-COVID patients has risen very steadily and the workforce has not increased,” Hackner said. “Many of the temporary workers are gone; not in our region, but also not in the Commonwealth.”

In addition to seeking care at the right level, Hackner says to be vaccinated and tested if symptoms of COVID-19 are shown.

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