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In Florida, the number of coronavirus cases is declining, but hospital staffing shortages remain

The word emergency is written in red letters on a blue background in front of a multistory tan building
Patrick Sternad
/
WFSU
The coronavirus pandemic as exacerbated nursing shortages at hospitals throughout the state of Florida.

After the delta variant caused a surge of coronavirus patients in Florida, health officials say the number of cases is continuing to trend down. But Mary Mayhew, President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, says staffing concerns remain.

“We had a workforce shortage prior to the pandemic. The pandemic has been like a gasoline can over that fire so the workforce shortage is now greatly exacerbated as a result of the pandemic,” Mayhew says.

Mayhew says the “stress and strain” of the pandemic led to a 25% turnover rate among hospital nurses. That number rises to 30% among ICU critical care nurses.

Mayhew is looking to state lawmakers for help improving retention efforts. During a meeting with the Senate Health Policy Committee Wednesday she told lawmakers that might include help with creating better career pathways or developing mentorships and apprenticeships.