Justice announces task force to address WV hospital staff shortages

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - Gov. Jim Justice says help is on the way for West Virginia hospitals dealing with staffing and capacity issues from a summer-long rise in coronavirus cases.

Following Gov. Justice’s Breakfast Roundtable Summit with his Pandemic Leadership Team Monday morning at the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston, Gov. Justice announced during his COVID-19 briefing that the State will be implementing a new initiative called “Saving Our Care” to ensure the stability of hospitals and nursing homes as the current surge in cases brought on by the Delta variant begins to peak.”Our hospitals are on the verge of being overrun to the point where, if we don’t act right now, we could awaken to a situation where we’re basically rationing care,” Gov. Justice said. “Now we’re not there right at this moment. But we should all realize that we are now at a point in time where we are reaching a crisis.”

While the number of active cases statewide dropped 27% during the weekend-and there was a slight decrease in hospitalizations-state leaders expect hospital cases to remain at high levels for several weeks.

”We have the dollars available to us, and we will absolutely move to whatever we’ve got to do to make sure we continue to provide care to all of our people, and we get through this,” Justice said, while adding the legislature will be asked to provide more funding if what the state has now dries up.

“I think the Governor’s commitment to support those facilities, so not only can we take care of all people with COVID-19, but as the Governor said, it’s also important that we have our hospital beds available for people with strokes, heart attacks, motor vehicle accidents, and bad infections, because when when hospitals get overwhelmed, then those elements start to suffer too,” State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said. “We’ve seen two states in the country – Idaho and Alaska – that have rationed care, and we certainly, as a leadership group, and certainly under the Governor’s direction, we are committed to making sure that will not happen here in West Virginia.”

54 additional deaths were reported during the weekend, bringing the state’s overall death toll to 3,424.

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