Just one month ago, COVID-19 wards at hospitals across San Diego were empty, doctors and nurses were finally able to take a breath and many of them were hopeful the worst of the pandemic was behind them. But numbers began creeping up again.
“Today we have 122 patients in our hospitals with 22 in the intensive care units, these are Covid patients,” said Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, chief medical officer for Acute Care at Scripps Health. “To set this up for you, on June 14 before the state opened everything up we only had 14 COVID-19 patients at Scripps.”
According to the latest report from San Diego County, the total COVID-19 related hospitalizations reached 407 on Tuesday.
Sharieff says the rise is starting to complicate the hospital's ability to bring in more staff.
“The staff is tired," said Sharieff. “We had staff that wanted to take a few days off, we have staff picking up extra shifts. It’s a staffing problem across the region.”
A staffing problem, Michael Kennedy, a registered nurse at UC San Diego Health, is all too familiar with.
“I have seen nurses go into early retirement because they are just tired of being understaffed all the time and overworked,” Kennedy said.
Hospital staff says even traveling nurses who at one point wanted to come work in San Diego are no longer taking jobs.
“There is truly fatigue among health care workers, unfortunately,” said Sharieff.
Exhausted and burned out with no end in sight. They plea the public to do their part.
“We really need everyone to buckle in at home,” said Sharieff. “Wear your mask, get vaccinated, distance and do your part otherwise we’ll have to go back to where we were before and we really don't want to do that.”