(WJW) — An alarming number of healthcare workers are contracting COVID-19 at a staggering rate that very soon could severely impact patient care.
The Cleveland Clinic confirmed Friday that nearly 1,000 of their caregivers are off due to the virus.
That is triple the number they reported just two weeks ago and happening at the worst time — while cases are skyrocketing.
“This is not the moment to wait; it’s the moment to act,” said Dr. Eduardo Mireles, director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit on the main campus in Cleveland.
Dr. Mireles spoke with FOX 8 Friday to sound the alarm and ask for the public’s help in slowing the spread of the virus before their ability to provide proper patient care is impacted.
Although they have enough qualified personnel right now, he says they’re already feeling the ramifications.
“Our team members are coming down with the disease and we have a very large amount of caregivers out which makes our teams more strained,” said Dr. Mireles. “This means we have less of the usual quantity of people to do our work so a certain number of surgeries get stopped which affects patient care.”
According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, the healthcare system employed 51,731 in 2019, so 1,000 may seem insignificant.
However, they say COVID infections require longer absences and everyone around them must also be quarantined for two weeks.
The area’s second largest health system, University Hospitals isn’t releasing specific numbers of their caregivers off due to COVID, but say they have adequate capacity at their hospitals with the capability of increasing capacity to handle the surge in cases.
And MetroHealth Medical Center is reporting 60 employees off due to COVID.
The Clinic says they also have enough staffing for now due to robust planning, but hope the public will help them slow the spread.
Gov. Mike DeWine says the spread is so pervasive across the state and in other states that they can’t even bring in reinforcements.
“This spread is everywhere — all 88 counties. We can’t borrow from one county to the other; we can’t even borrow from the other states as we see the great great surge all across our country,” said DeWine.
More than 1,000 hospitals came together and released a PSA this week asking people to help them out by avoiding gatherings, practicing social distancing and by wearing masks.
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