MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As West Virginia reaches a new record for hospitalizations related to the coronavirus, health care systems across the state remain stressed because of the pandemic.
Hospitals have requested help from the West Virginia National Guard because of staffing problems. David Goldberg, the president and CEO of Mon Health Sytems, said eight guardsmen are helping with services at the facility.
“We have about 80 people out now, either on quarantine, they have it, or self-monitoring,” he told MetroNews affiliate WAJR-AM. “Those eight are filling the gaps significantly.”
Members of the National Guard received training earlier this month to help health care facilities. The addition of guardsmen allows other employees to work with other patients.
“Many of them are doing housekeeping, environmental service, they’re helping with food service, transport,” Goldberg said. “They’re helping in our testing tent. Two of them are actually helping us swab.”
He added, “The doctors, the nurses and the respiratory therapists are vital, especially during a pandemic attacking your respiratory system. You have all the support. I don’t call it bedside; everyone is at the patient side.”
Goldberg noted it has been a challenge to recruit new workers for health care facilities. He added Mon Health Systems is trying to operate with its current staff levels as best as possible.
“If they [have] overtime or extra shifts, we’ll pay them extra than their normal wage,” he said. “We’ve filled 70 to 90 shifts over multiple months, paying our own people what we would have paid an agency.”
The state Department of Health and Human Resources reported 1,043 hospitalizations related to the coronavirus on Wednesday. According to health officials, 68.3% of coronavirus patients are not vaccinated.