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Scripps delays some medical procedures due to COVID-19, staff shortages

Scripps said they are also evaluating temporarily consolidating some ambulatory sites due to the staffing shortage.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Scripps Health announced Friday that due to significant health care workforce shortages and an increase in COVID-19 cases and non-COVID patient care, it will temporarily delay some medical procedures that can be safely postponed.

Scripps health officials said the "decisions on which procedures are delayed are being made by medical staff based on clinical factors and emergency, time-sensitive care will continue to be delivered."

Scripps said they are also evaluating temporarily consolidating some ambulatory sites due to the staffing shortage.

“The COVID pandemic has taken a serious toll on health care workers across the nation, and many have decided to leave the field entirely for reasons such as fatigue and burnout,” said Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder. “We’re doing all we can to fill open positions and shifts, but options are currently limited across the board in health care, so we’re doing what’s necessary to ensure we have staff available for our most urgent cases.”

Scripps said they are currently looking to fill 1,309 full-and part-time open positions, compared to 832 open positions in August 2019, before the pandemic emerged. Based just on registered nurses, Scripps currently has 433 full-and part-time open positions, compared to 220 openings in August 2019.

Scripps said the number of COVID-19 patients at Scripps hospitals continues to grow. Scripps said they currently have 173 COVID-positive patients admitted at its five hospital campuses – a significant jump from 13 hospitalized COVID patients on June 15, when the state of California ended its tiered reopening system and relaxed its social distancing and masking requirements. 

Along with the surge in COVID-19 cases, Scripps said they are also seeing many patients needing care that was delayed during the pandemic, which is creating an even greater demand for services.

“We are asking people to please get vaccinated. Wear masks. Do what you can to vanquish this pandemic,” Van Gorder said. “We in health care simply will not be able to continue to help this community and our patients in the way we need to if we are faced with an ever-increasing number of COVID cases on top of the large number of patients we are treating already and the level of staffing we have available.”

WATCH RELATED: Scripps Health brings back outdoor hospital tents (Aug. 3, 2021)