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Queen’s Punchbowl declares internal state of emergency due to staffing shortage

The Queen’s Health Systems today declared an internal state of emergency for The Queen’s Medical Center–Punchbowl, just days after doing the same for its QMC-West facility.

The internal declaration sets certain procedures and processes in motion to allow both operations time to decompress their emergency departments and ensure safe care for patients.

The declaration for the Punchbowl hospital comes two days after one was issued for QMC-West on Monday as the rate of hospital admissions there outpaced the number of available beds.

Queen’s said the rates of emergency room visits and hospital admissions at both facilities are outpacing the number of available staff.

“Like other organizations across our country and state, Queen’s is experiencing the widespread effects of community exposures from the omicron variant on our team,” Jill Hoggard Green, president and CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems, said in a news release. “Currently, we have over 800 caregivers (nursing, providers and ancillary) unable to work due to close contact or a positive test for COVID. To address staffing shortages and ensure we provide adequate care, we have contracted with qualified traveling nurses and community-based ancillary staff.”

Queen’s is also following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards “to assess and appropriately bring caregivers who have no symptoms and are boosted and/or vaccinated back to work with specific testing protocols,” she said.

Both QMC-Punchbowl and QMC-West, however, remain open and are receiving emergency patients. Area residents should still go to those two hospitals if they have an emergency.

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