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COVID Affecting Staffing At South Florida's Hospitals, Police & Fire Departments

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Hospitals across South Florida are feeling the pain with staffing shortages due to COVID-19.

"We have approximately 3% of our workforce on any given day is out of work due to Covid," reports Margie Vargas from Memorial Healthcare Human Resources.

She tells CBS4 about 400 of their 14,000 employees are out right now due to COVID. "Prior to Omicron we were experiencing probably 50-70 out specifically due to COVID," she said.

That has employees picking up shifts or working different schedules. They're also welcoming patients from other hospitals.

For example, Monday, Holy Cross Temporarily closed the maternity ward because of staffing shortages.  Memorial helped out.  "For us, it was a no-brainer," Vargas said. "We didn't have to think about it twice, we just jump in, you open your doors and take care of the community."

At Jackson Memorial, over the last 10 days, 435 employees tested positive that's about 3% of the staff.

Law enforcement is feeling it too.

"This COVID is the real deal," said Steadman Stahl, Union President at the South Florida PBA.

At the corrections department in Miami-Dade, there are 173 employees out with COVID, that's about 6% of the workforce.  And there are 300 inmates with COVID.  "In the correction facilities, they're working alpha/bravo, 10 to 12-hour shifts.  They're being asked to come in on their days off," Stahl said.

At the Miami-Dade Police Department, there are  482 employees out, more than 10% of the staff.  At BSO, the number stands at 458, which includes law enforcement, corrections and fire rescue, or about 8% of the workforce.

"The way we've been working, the way we handle calls now, handle service is unprecedented.  I've never seen it like this before," Stahl said.

Stahl says at the corrections department staff from other facilities are being transferred to the jail to cover shifts.  BSO said deputies in some of their sectors are working 12-hour shifts.

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