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Staff shortages from COVID forcing some health care facilities to limit services


(NEW YORK) — As U.S. COVID-19 cases continue to surge, some health care facilities have been forced to shut down facilities or departments as staffing shortages worsen.

Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was forced to close labor and delivery units, while keeping open, at least for now, NICU and postpartum units.

“Holy Cross Health has reached critical staffing levels in Labor and Delivery,” the hospital said in a statement to ABC News. “In the best interest of patient safety, the Labor and Delivery unit is on diversion until further notice.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance last month for health care workers, reducing their isolation periods to align with “understanding of the disease trajectory,” which affected staffing measures.

Three Aurora Urgent Care facilities in Wisconsin were forced to close last week until at least Jan. 26.

“Managing the COVID surge combined with staffing shortages have contributed to temporary closures at three lower volume urgent care centers in Menomonee Falls, Brookfield and on River Center Drive in Milwaukee,” a representative for Advocate Aurora Health told ABC News in a statement. “This allows those team members to be deployed to busier urgent cares in the area. All other non-urgent care services offered at these three facilities are currently open.”

Pulaski Memorial Hospital in Indiana also told ABC News it’s closing its OB/Maternity department in mid-January due to staffing shortages.

“With so few maternity nurses available, our medical staff and senior leadership felt it best to close the OB/Maternity Department instead of trying to operate at less than optimal staffing levels,” hospital CEO Tom Barry said in a statement. “Over the past several months, we have had significant difficulty recruiting additional staff to our OB/Maternity Department in order to maintain the high-quality standards that all patients deserve and expect from PMH.”

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