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Mid-Missouri hospitals report staffing shortages amid omicron surge

SSM Health St. Mary's in Jefferson City
KMIZ
SSM Health St. Mary's in Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Hospitals across Mid-Missouri continue to report staffing shortages as the omicron variant spreads rapidly across the state.

Many hospitals have been experiencing a shortage since the beginning of the pandemic two years ago, but workers say this may be the biggest shortage they've seen.

Dr. Lenora Adams, vice president of medical affairs with SSM Health St. Mary's in Jefferson City, said with many hospital staff out with the virus, remaining workers are being stretched thin.

"We do have many clinical providers who are currently home on leave with COVID," Adams said.

SSM Health saw record numbers of COVID-19 patients Tuesday.

"Today we have our highest, second highest record of covid hospitalized patients since the beginning of the pandemic," Adams said.

SSM Health St. Mary's said the hospital had 41 coronavirus patients Tuesday, the hospital's record number of COVID patients during a surge is 42.

The hospital currently has 33 staff members out on quarantine.

Due to the increase in patients and lack of available staff, SSM Health has had to make some adjustments.

"We take folks that might work in more of an administrative role or clerical role, we might ask them to help out with some medical and clerical duties they might be able to do," Adams said.

The hospital is unable to take any ICU transfers at this time.

"We did go on a critical care diversion because our ICU is over capacity at this time, we have a 12 bed ICU we currently have 15 patients in the ICU," Adams said.

The Jefferson City hospital isn't alone.

In Boone County, Dr. Laura Hesemann, assistant professor of child health and medicine director, said MU Health Care is also short staffed and is having to adjust who they can intake.

"We are canceling some outpatient procedures so we have canceled for this week elective surgeries that we would expect to require an inpatient stay afterward," Hesemann said.

Boone health is also experiencing a shortage that is putting a strain on hospital capacity.

Both MU Health Care and SSM Health say the hospitals are not yet having to turn patients away and are available to take care of patient needs.

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Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.

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