Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale has informed pregnant patients that they will have to seek medical care and labor and delivery accommodations elsewhere, as the spike in Covid cases has directly led to a reduction in staff.
“Due to the COVID-19 surge, Holy Cross Health has reached critical staffing levels in Labor and Delivery," the hospital said in a statement to NBC News. "In the best interest of patient safety, the Labor and Delivery unit is on diversion until further notice. The NICU and Post-Partum remain open."
Officials say a South Florida hospital has temporarily closed its maternity ward due to staff-shortages related to recent outbreaks of COVID-19. https://t.co/nQnE09HPlV— News 6 WKMG (@news6wkmg) January 4, 2022
Last month, the omicron variant of COVID-19 superseded delta as the dominant variant in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Dec. 25, 58.6% of COVID-19 cases in the country have been caused by the omicron variant.
“People are out sick due to the surge in COVID-19 cases,” Holy Cross spokesperson Christine Walker tells NBC Miami.
Due to the omicron variant being highly transmissible, Covid-19 cases in Florida have risen by 948% in just two weeks. Nationally, cases have risen by more than 100%—according to a Reuters estimate, infections have doubled during the last seven days to an average of 418,000 cases per day.
Throughout the pandemic, other hospitals have had to temporarily shut down their maternity units as well. Many rural hospitals across the country have been struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. Facing workforce shortages, financial strain and more patients than beds, many have had to suspend obstetric services or cut them altogether. The maternity department at Lewis County Health System in upstate New York paused deliveries last fall. Stephens County Hospital in northeast Georgia recently suspended its labor and delivery services as a cost-cutting measure due to financial deficits.
These hospital closures are just one facet of the enormous impact the pandemic has had—and will continue to have— on U.S. health systems as cases continue to climb.