PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Medical facilities are taking a proactive approach to shuffle staff and meet the rising demand despite shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The narrative around COVID-19 and the omicron variant continues to evolve as hospital beds fill up and workforces are hollowed out by the spread of the virus.
Another hurdle in the fight against COVID-19 is weighing heavy among frontline workers of the pandemic.
"It is a challenge when it comes to needing to staff during the surge," said Dr. Kevin Taylor, the emergency room director for Bethesda Hospital East in Boynton Beach.
Dr. Taylor is staying optimistic to meet the growing demand during this latest surge
"We've seen we've had more challenges this time with workforce degradation because of the nurses and even physicians and ancillary staff getting COVID," Taylor said. "I feel like my group is holding up very well against it. They've been robust."
"This is not something any of us want," said Dr. Mona Amin, a pediatrician with Pediatric Associates in South Florida.
Amin is encouraging families to stay patient during these uncertain times.
"Being a parent right now is not the easiest thing in the world. Parents are feeling very frustrated," Amin said.
Amin's practice is taking precautionary measures to mitigate staffing shortages.
"There may be days where you're not able to get in right away to see us. But we're really trying to do our best with the resources, and this means staffing resources that we have at this moment," Amin said.
The office is alerting parents that appointment cancellations may be possible if cases climb.
"This has never happened before in this pandemic that we've ever had to close down an office for this, but it's a reality right now and I really want to reassure families that there are other ways that they can get seen. Telemedicine, the Kids Doc Now app, obviously phone calls, but the phone lines are kind of crazy right now too because of understaffing," Amin said.
Amin went on to say that, as of right now, the majority of children who are being admitted to the ICU with COVID-19 are over 5 years old and unvaccinated.
Dr. Taylor also reminded viewers that local emergency rooms should not be used as COVID-19 community testing sites and encourages them to visit the Florida Department of Health website for local testing options. Free online urgent care is also available through the Baptist Health Care on Demand App with the code – CARE19.