NEWARK, N.J. — Beds are filling up quickly at University Hospital in Newark, with COVID-19 hospitalizations doubling, according to President and CEO Dr. Shereef Elnahal.
But that’s not the only problem — hospitals are struggling to keep their own staff healthy and safe from infection.
Elnahal estimated at least 6% of University Hospital’s staff was out sick with the illness they’re working hard to combat: COVID-19.
“We’re going to every single source possible for folks who have skills who can apply them to the patients,” he said.
Elnahal and his hospital are not alone; staffing is an issue in hospitals across the region, including in New York City.
Mayor Eric Adams spent Wednesday afternoon at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, one of the main hot zones during the early days of the pandemic.
He announced the addition of 250 new employees for the city’s Department of Health, and a total of nearly $140 million in new funding for the city’s public hospitals, as well as medical centers serving low-income communities.
“We want to ensure that the proper staffing is there, and the proper support is there,” Adams said.
But as health officials in New York and New Jersey battle COVID in hospitals, there may be a crisis of confidence spreading out in the community.
Longtime Newark resident and community activist Donna Jackson said many of the residents she meets are struggling to keep up with the never-ending flow of new updates and new information.
“There’s a sense of not knowing,” she told PIX11 News. “There’s a sense of insecurity.”