Amid ongoing surge, more than 800 frontline caregivers in Hawaii out sick with COVID

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Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 3:31 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 2, 2022 at 4:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Amid Hawaii’s ongoing COVID surge, some 800 frontline caregivers in Hawaii called out sick Thursday due to the virus, the Healthcare Association of Hawaii said.

The number of call outs is close to what was reported during the peak of the Omicron surge.

While the current COVID surge isn’t filling up hospital beds statewide, it’s still having a significant impact on available medical staff.

According to the association, there are currently over 180 people hospitalized with the virus, which is a manageable number, but the number of sick calls is making it difficult to fill shifts and taxing an already fatigued workforce.

“They may be working three 12-hour shifts a week, they may be asked to work four 12-hour shifts a week for example,” said HAH president Hilton Raethel. “It has an impact on the entire workforce when you have this many people as out as we do.”

Raethel said sick calls have required more out-of-state staff — nearly 250 traveling nurses are currently on island.

Meanwhile, HAH says another 150 workers across the country are on the way to alleviate the shortage.

“With all of our local staff out, there’s not a pool of workers sitting out there locally that we can bring in,” Raethel explained. “So we do have to go to the mainland simply because we do not have a sufficient pool of staff here in the state of Hawaii.”

Raethel adds that fortunately there are signs that the rate of infection is decreasing, which indicates the surge could peak sometime this month

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