TOLEDO, Ohio — ProMedica is among the first hospital systems in Ohio to receive out-of-state workers, bolstering staff numbers during the current COVID-19 surge.
According to the hospital's public relations director, Tausha Moore, ProMedica received four registered nurses last week, followed by an additional seven RNs and 14 respiratory therapists this week.
Moore said ProMedica leadership expects to onboard nurses and therapists every Monday for the next two weeks, noting that the hospital has requested roughly 100 workers.
The additional help comes as part of a state contract with an outside staffing agency, as hospitals across the state battle record numbers of COVID-19 patients with fewer employees.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the partnership back in December, when he first mobilized the National Guard into the state's health care facilities.
In the early stages of the pandemic, concern centered around bed capacity. But, the focus has since shifted toward personnel.
DeWine said the nearly two-year battle has taken its toll.
"Twenty-two months they have fought this war, and I want to thank them, and thank them again," he said during a December press briefing.
ProMedica is currently working under a contingency-level staffing plan. Staff members are able to return to work five days after COVID-19 symptom onset if at that point they are asymptomatic, wear a mask and socially distance.
The hospital system has also started to postpone some elective procedures, only performing time-sensitive emergent surgeries at Toledo Hospital, Flower Hospital and Bay Park.
A note sent to employees Monday read:
"As we work to manage the current situation and anticipate the impending demands of this surge, further action is needed to ensure we are able to meet the needs of all patients who require inpatient care. In this capacity, we wanted to make you aware that we have made the decision to move to the next phase of our surge plans..."
The Ohio Department of Health reported 18,042 new cases of the virus on Monday, with a total of 6,747 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state — that's the most since the pandemic began, and an increase of 192 hospitalizations over the last 24 hours.