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115 health care workers arrive on Oahu to help boost staffing at Queen’s

  • COURTESY QUEEN’S HEALTH SYSTEMS
                                More than 100 traveling nurses, respiratory therapists, and a radiologic technologist, arrived over the weekend to help at Queen’s Medical Center-Punchbowl and QMC-West. Most are funded by FEMA.

    COURTESY QUEEN’S HEALTH SYSTEMS

    More than 100 traveling nurses, respiratory therapists, and a radiologic technologist, arrived over the weekend to help at Queen’s Medical Center-Punchbowl and QMC-West. Most are funded by FEMA.

The Queen’s Health Systems today announced that more than 100 medical workers have arrived in Hawaii to help care for patients at both of its Oahu facilities during the current COVID-19 surge.

This first wave of 115 caregivers, made up of nurses, respiratory therapists, and a radiologic technologist, arrived over the weekend, and will be going through orientation before their deployment.

They will be working in the emergency department, intensive care, and medical-surgical units at Queen’s Medical Center-Punchbowl and QMC-West, both of which have declared an “internal state of emergency” due to a high rate of hospital admissions and staffing shortages.

Most were funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to Queen’s.

“We are once again very appreciative of the federal government’s support in providing aid to help us through this surge,” said Jill Hoggard Green, president and CEO of Queen’s in a news release. “This is welcome relief as we continue to see rapid transmission of COVID-19 in our community. Like the rest of the country and the state, Queen’s is seeing a dramatic increase in community-acquired infections and exposures.”

The help comes as a growing number of Queen’s staff are out due either to infection or exposure to COVID-19, or the need to care for loved ones impacted by the coronavirus. On Monday, more than 800 were out for those reasons, according to Green.

“This team of medical workers will provide much needed help to our caregivers who have been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic,” said Green in a statement. “They have sacrificed so much of themselves and we are so appreciative of their efforts.”

She thanked the state, city and federal government leaders and Healthcare Association of Hawaii for their efforts in bringing the outside help.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our elected officials to bring in more nurses and support staff to assist our caregivers, who have been working around the clock to provide high quality care to our patients,” she said.

Queen’s is also monitoring a COVID-19 cluster at Hale Pulama Mau, a specialized acute care unit at Kuakini Medical Center, where 11 patients and 16 staff have tested positive for the coronavirus. All are receiving appropriate care, according to Queen’s, and Hale Pulama Maui is still operating.

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