Banner Health reports delays, staffing shortages amid omicron surge

Published: Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 4:04pm
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Arizona is reporting record numbers of new COVID-19 infections, averaging more than 13,000 cases per day recently. The surge in cases continues to cause havoc in the state’s hospitals. Banner Health, the state's largest hospital system, is reporting staffing shortages and disruptions of some services.

“Please be patient with us in the days and weeks to come," Banner chief clinical officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel said Tuesday. "You may experience longer waits or delays due to the significant strain on our health care system.” 

It’s not just the volume of patients coming into hospitals that’s causing strain. The highly infectious omicron variant is also getting many health care workers sick, exacerbating staffing shortages. Bessel said Banner has had to temporarily close some of its urgent care centers due to staffing shortages. She said some surgery schedules have also been interrupted. She said she expects the issues will persist for at least a few more weeks.

Bessel said Banner is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and has shortened its isolation time required for COVID-positive workers, allowing frontline personnel to get back to work faster after an infection. 

"Our return to work process is robust and it is intended to keep our employees as well as our patients safe," Bessel said. "This is an ever evolving situation with the omicron variant and we will continue to evaluate our staffing needs." 

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