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New Jersey hospitals face staffing shortages as nurses see some COVID patients "not win that battle"

COVID hospitalizations spike in New Jersey
COVID hospitalizations spike in New Jersey as staff shortages abound 03:17

The United States is reporting record-high COVID infections that have been overwhelming hospitals across the country. 

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it estimates that around 54,000 people will be hospitalized every day by the end of the month. The recent surge in cases is being fueled by the Omicron variant. 

At Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, the situation has become dire after the hospital saw a significant increase in patients over the holidays. 

"Just before the holidays we were under 30, yesterday we were over 90," Dr. Michele Acito told CBS News' Nikki Battiste. 

Acito, who is the chief nursing officer at the hospital, said that 106 employees are out sick, including 26 nurses. 

For those at work, holding up cell phones so patients can FaceTime their loved ones has become a part of the job description.  

"To see that care for patients day in and day out, work so hard and not win the battle. It's a lot," Acito said.  

Nearly 6,000 hospital staff members across New Jersey have gotten COVID since Christmas. The state is asking its national guard and FEMA for help with staffing. 

Fourteen hospitals in the state face a critical staffing shortage and at least three more are expected to be by the end of the week. The shortage is happening as the state sees more than 700 patients in the ICU. 

Acito said that she always worries about not having enough nurses. The pandemic has also hit the hospital personally after they lost a staff member to COVID.  

"I happened to be eight and a half months pregnant at that time. So, it was a challenging day. It was a very emotional day," Acito said. "But it was something that we got through together." 

Almost two years later, they're still pushing on. 

"We are here for any patient that walks through that door," Acito said. 

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