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Health Team

Critical hospital staffing shortage expected to worsen, data shows

Posted January 25, 2021 6:28 p.m. EST
Updated January 26, 2021 10:38 a.m. EST

— Nationwide, 15 percent of all hospitals are reporting staffing shortages as the international COVID-19 pandemic continues.

That's more than 900 hospitals across the country, according to federal data released by the U.S. Department of Health. That shortage is expected to increase in the near future as more than 1,100 hospitals reported expecting shortages next week, which is more than 18 percent of hospitals.

In North Carolina, five hospitals report staffing shortages right now. Looking ahead, that is likely to go up, too, as 10 reported critical staffing shortages are expected for next week.

North Carolina’s rate is very low, only about 4 percent right now. Some areas, like Washington, D.C., and Kentucky, don't have any staffing issues, the data shows.

But other states are struggling. In California, more than 150 hospitals have reported critical staffing issues – almost 40 percent of all hospitals there.

The federal data doesn't note what roles are short-staffed. It could be ICU nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists. The federal government collects that detail, but it isn’t released to the public.

It is also unclear which hospitals are experiencing the shortages.

North Carolina and federal health officials did not respond to an inquiry for further information.

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