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Scripps Health Delaying Some Medical Procedures as it Faces Staff Shortages Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

Scripps Health said it will be delaying some medical procedures that can be safely postponed as it is also evaluating temporarily consolidating some ambulatory sites due to a staffing shortage

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Scripps Health is temporarily delaying some medical procedures as it is facing "significant" health care staff shortages along with an increase in COVID-19 cases and non-COVID patient care, it was announced Friday.

Scripps Health said it will be delaying some medical procedures that can be safely postponed saying decisions on which procedures are delayed are being made by medical staff based on clinical factors. It is also evaluating temporarily consolidating some ambulatory sites due to a staffing shortage.

“The COVID pandemic has taken a serious toll on health care workers across the nation, and many have decided to leave the field entirely for reasons such as fatigue and burnout,” said Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder. “We’re doing all we can to fill open positions and shifts, but options are currently limited across the board in health care, so we’re doing what’s necessary to ensure we have staff available for our most urgent cases.”

According to Scripps Health, it is looking to fill 1,309 full-and part-time open positions, compared to the 832 open positions it had in Aug. 2019, before the pandemic started. For registered nurses, Scripps Health said it has 433 full-and part-time open positions, compared to the 220 openings it had in Aug. 2019.

Scripps Health said it is continuing to see the number of COVID-19 patients grow.

As of Friday, Scripps Health said it has 173 COVID-19 positive patients admitted to its five hospital campuses, a significant jump from 13 hospitalized COVID-19 patients on June 15.

In addition, due to patients delaying certain care during the pandemic, Scripps Health said it is also creating an even greater demand for services.

“We are asking people to please get vaccinated. Wear masks. Do what you can to vanquish this pandemic,” Van Gorder said. “We in health care simply will not be able to continue to help this community and our patients in the way we need to if we are faced with an ever-increasing number of COVID cases on top of the large number of patients we are treating already and the level of staffing we have available.”

Scripps Health said those with emergencies and time-sensitive care will continue to get the care they need.

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