Doctor says medical workers ‘doing the best they can’ during COVID-19 surge

Published: August 13, 2021 9:44 PM EDT
Updated: August 14, 2021 12:49 PM EDT
Dr. Jeffrey Collins with Chief Medical Officer for MD Now Urgent Care. Credit: WINK News.

Health care workers are exhausted and stretched thin, as coronavirus patients fill up intensive care units, emergency rooms and urgent care centers.

One urgent care group said a lot of urgent care centers are experiencing long wait times because of the number of people who need to see a doctor or get tested.

After a year and a half to the pandemic, doctors and nurses are tired, and hospitals are needing more staff. Beds filling are up; lines of sick people are waiting for help, and hospital staff members are pulling long shifts.

“I think everybody across the whole spectrum of care, whether it’s your primary care physician, your pediatrician, your urgent care center or your emergency department, everybody is experiencing an increased volume of patients and longer wait times,” Dr. Jeffrey Collins, chief medical officer at MD Now Urgent Care.

Collins says it’s not the wait times alone that are long. The shifts of healthcare workers are too, and it’s taking a toll.

“We are seeing a lot of our own staff get sick now too,” Collins said. “And so we don’t always have the manpower that we need, not only with physicians and advanced practitioners, but also with our front desk staff, our medical assistance.”

According to a report by the Florida Hospital Association, by next week, 68% of hospitals expect to reach a critical staffing shortage. That’s 8% up from last week.

With the high number of COVID-19 cases in Florida, how long can staff stand strong?

“I think we will have to see how things go,” Collins said. “I think, currently, the system is being supported, and that everybody is kind of helping each other out.”

At NCH, they say they are seeing longer wait times in the ER. On average, they try to get sick people to see a doctor within 21 minutes.

Collins says it’s a teamwork effort from everyone across healthcare to stay afloat, and they are staying positive.

“I think everyone is doing the best they can with the staff they have,” Collins said.