Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale temporarily shuttered its maternity ward on Tuesday morning as they face an ongoing COVID-19 related staff shortage.
Though the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and post-partum sectors remain open and operational, the unit is considered ‘closed until further notice.’ Nearby medical centers including Memorial Healthcare and Broward Health are taking on redirected Holy Cross Health patients until the maternity ward is functional.
“Due to the COVID-19 surge, Holy Cross Health has reached critical staffing levels in Labor and Delivery,” said Holy Cross Heath Public Relations Specialist Edison D. Lozada in a statement to The Capitolist. “In the best interest of patient safety, the Labor and Delivery unit is on diversion until further notice. The NICU and Post-Partum remain open.”
Given the influx of new expecting mothers brought into nearby health facilities due to the shutdown, some hold concerns that the accommodating hospitals will struggle to manage the increased load of patients.
“With how quickly COVID has spread through South Florida, the patient influx is always a worry in any situation,” a Broward County nurse who asked to remain anonymous said. “I can’t say anything is a certainty, but I anticipate the hospitals to be busier than usual.”
Both Broward Health and Memorial Healthcare were reached for comment regarding load management in their respective maternity departments, but neither immediately responded.
Governor Ron DeSantis addressed the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant on Monday during a press conference at Broward Health. Omicron has spread throughout South Florida, where Holy Cross Health is located, particularly hard.
Despite weakened symptoms present in those infected, Omicron is the most transmittable form of COVID-19 that the state has seen, resulting in a record 77,848 new cases on Dec. 30th.
DeSantis made clear that though a large majority of the cases in Miami-Dade County and Broward County are suspected to be Omicron, there’s no present method of quickly testing for the strain an infected person incubates, and that lingering instances of the Delta variant are possible.