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Burned Out, Short-Staffed Hospitals Fight Latest COVID Surge


South Dakota hospitals are facing another COVID surge because of stalled vaccination rates and the Delta variant.  Monument Health is again delaying non-urgent surgeries to preserve capacity, while other systems struggle with staffing shortages and burnout.   

Dr. Chad Thury is the Regional Director of Quality with Avera Medical Group. He says staff morale is a concern.   

“Unfortunately we’ve had some staff that has left healthcare because of COVID over the last 18 months,” he says, “so we’ve got some holes to fill in regards to staffing because of that as well.”  

The remaining staff is facing burnout after an unusually busy summer. Dr. Thury says hospitals caught up on procedures they were forced to delay in the early days of the pandemic.   

 “We want to make sure we’re still providing all the routine, everyday things we need to do and deal with COVID on top of it,” he explains. “We’re going to need all the help we can get from the community to decrease the rate of COVID infections and COVID-related hospitalizations.”  

Dr. Thury says the COVID-19 vaccine is effective in preventing hospitalizations and death from the disease. He also recommends wearing a mask when maintaining a physical distance from others isn’t possible.  

This story comes from a recent interview on SDPB's weekday radio program, "In the Moment." Listen to the full interview below.

Jackie is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls Studio.