Decatur-Morgan Hospital grapples with staff shortages amid COVID-19 pandemic

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – With a record number of Alabamians now coming down with COVID-19 each day, Decatur Morgan Hospital is facing an employee shortage.

Speaking at Decatur’s COVID-19 Briefing Monday morning, Decatur Morgan Hospital President Kelli Powers said 68 employees are in quarantine right now, 27 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus and 41 are awaiting their test results.

To make up for staff shortages, the hospital is bringing in teams of temporary health care workers to fill in the gaps, and continuing to hire within the hospital’s COVID-19 unit.

“We need some techs, so we need about 6 PCA techs and one night nurse,” said Powers.

With so many staff out, the hospital says its considering temporarily putting a halt to elective surgeries.

Right now, the hospital’s key focus is on the record number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital. 42 patients have tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting their results. Five of those patients are in the ICU.

The hospital currently has one free ICU bed remaining so it has been forced to create makeshift ones.

“There’s a peak now, but we worry about a peak that’s already estimated for January,” said Powers.

Alabama Department of Public Health official Judy Smith is pleading with the public to wear a mask.

“Please if you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for somebody else, save a life,” said Smith.

Currently, Decatur Morgan Hospitals says it’s not facing a shortage of medications or ventilators, but that could quickly change depending on the expected surge of patients following the holidays.

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