DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — In recent weeks, COVID-19 hospitalizations are continuing to trend downward, but Alabama health leaders say that doesn’t mean staffing issues have improved across the state.
According to Dr. Karen Landers with the ADPH, a partnership between the state of Alabama and the department has given funds to bring traveling nurses to Alabama.
She said $12.3 million will be given from the governor’s office and $1.3 million from the ADPH. Landers said these funds give a total of $13.6 million to provide emergency staffing to nine regions across the state.
“When we look at what is going on in our hospitals, we know the strain continues to be there, these professionals have been working in this environment of the spring of 2020,” Dr. Landers said.
Dr. Landers said the funds will help provide 250 skilled staff in 27 hospitals for a total of six weeks. Specifically in the Wiregrass, Flowers Hospital, Medical Center Enterprise, Wiregrass Medical Center, and Southeast Health will each get help from traveling nurses.
“Any augmentation of the staff, whether it is to assist with COVID, or to help assist with non-COVID patients,” Dr. Landers said. “It will help, as Dr. Williamson, decompress the situation for the hospitals as much as we possibly can, and that is what we want to do.”
According to Landers, they hope to have registered nurses and respiratory therapists in the hospitals by October 11. She said this number may be less than the nearly 1,000 hospital staff actually needed. Landers said it is a start to give frontline workers relief.
Dr. Landers tells WDHN these traveling nurses will not only help assist medical professionals here in the Wiregrass. but rather across the whole state of Alabama. She said the best way to help our nurses, doctors, and frontline workers, is going out and getting vaccinated and practicing CDC protocols.
She said staff will be placed where needed and they will determine those needs based on data. She said they are grateful that the additional staff will help in areas that continue to be over-stressed due to the ongoing wave of COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
“Once again, we as individuals really can control our own situation, thereby protecting ourselves, keeping ourselves out of hospitals, and allowing these facilities to be able to be there for the entire community,” Dr. Landers said.