Rising COVID-19 cases could put number of qualified medical staff available to work in jeopardy

Posted at 10:27 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 10:03:35-05

In Ohio, 2,533 people were in the hospital with COVID-19 on Monday, according to the state's COVID-19 dashboard.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise, leading medical experts across Ohio said the pandemic is putting their staff in jeopardy.

The possibility of a scarcity of qualified medical staff is two-fold: a lack of physical space and a potential personnel shortage as nurses have to quarantine.

“It’s different, very different,” nursing teacher Sheeva Crute said.

Crute works as an instructor at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries and Cincinnati State. She’s helped heal the sick for more than three decades, but she said that no lessons can fully prepare her students for COVID-19.

"Besides being sick, you might get sick, your family member -- you don't want to bring anything home to them," Crute said.

Medical professionals from across Ohio addressed the state Monday, sharing data and pleading with the public to socially distance.

"We are seeing an exponential growth, a growth in hospital cases that's doubling every 21 days," UC Health president and CEO Dr. Richard Lofgren said.

Lofgren said if the numbers don’t slow soon, medical space and staff will be affected.

"It is that point that you start to exhaust the resources that my colleagues have mentioned, most notably staff, and it would result in us needing to think about deferring non-COVID care," Lofgren said.

Hospital leaders said many nurses are now having to quarantine because they’ve contracted the virus or live with someone who has. That, combined with a potential lack of bedspace, have the experts worrying things might get worse.

"Someone's calling off, and she's mandatory to stay 16 hours, that's a problem," Crute said.

Medical professionals pointed out that while numbers are rising, the country hasn’t hit peak flu season. That means if people don’t continue to socially distance – especially during the upcoming holidays – the number of cases could continue to rise.