COVID-19–related shortages of personal protective equipment and drugs continue to plague the US healthcare system, but now in the third US pandemic wave, nursing and other staffing shortages are sweeping the country. An Associated Press report found that at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, the nurse-to-patient ratio went from its recommended 1:1 to 1:4, and Andrew Pavia, MD, chief of the pediatric infectious disease division at the University of Utah School of Medicine said it’s the same in his state. To address nursing shortages in early November, North Dakota governor Doug Burgum began allowing asymptomatic nurses infected with COVID-19 to continue working with COVID patients, and Kalispell Regional Medical Center in northwestern Montana stopped quarantining COVID-exposed staff as long as they were asymptomatic. According to The Atlantic, the intensive care unit (ICU) at the University of Utah Hospital has had to use up to 36-hour shifts at times, and in Iowa, infectious disease physician Eli Perencevich, MD, of the University of Iowa, said earlier this month that the entire state was out of staffed beds.

 

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