OC nurses voice staffing concerns during coronavirus surge

Many hospitals across Southern California are experiencing an uptick in admissions as more intensive care unit beds are being used. In Orange County, health officials reported a record number of new coronavirus cases Monday with a jump in hospitalizations, causing some concern among frontline healthcare workers. 

"We're expecting the numbers to keep going up and what we're most concerned about at UCI Medical Center is the nurses and being able to provide Safe Staffing as the numbers go up," said Maureen Berry, R.N.

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Berry works in the Emergency Department at the University of Irvine Medical Center in Orange, which has the largest trauma center in the county.  She says with the recent surge in cases more nurses are becoming infected with the coronavirus. 


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"What's happening is like the general public. RNs are contracting Covid and so of course, they must quarantine just like the general public," Berry explained. "We also have a program with nurses who are pregnant. We’re trying to not have them deal with direct patient care. So we're giving them different assignments."

The OC Healthcare Agency reported 1,422 new COVID-19 cases, which raises the case total to 71,116. The number of Orange County residents hospitalized with the virus jumped from 380 to 428 on Monday with ICU beds rising from 91 to 105. Now, the county has 25% of its ICU beds and 66% of ventilators available. 

"Compared to the number of positive cases, the percentage of very sick individuals are fewer
than in March and April," said Dr. Suman Radhakrishna, an Infectious Disease Specialist with Dignity Hospitals.  

"The numbers are still staggering and we do not want to get overwhelmed and have no ICU beds available for patient care. That’s why we're asking individuals to do their responsible civic duty which is staying away from others and don't get infections," said Radhakrishna.  

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