By Deena Beasley
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. hospitals, gearing up for a large surge in patients as the new coronavirus spreads throughout the country, are reaching out to temporary staff agencies and exploring other ways to maintain workforce levels as school closures add to pressure on doctors and nurses.
“The biggest issue right now is we need to plan for a logarithmic increase in patient numbers,” Dr. Jason Persoff, assistant director of emergency preparedness at UCHealth, Colorado’s largest health system. “We are learning a lot from what happened in Washington state and in Italy … there are a lot of issues with childcare.”
He said UCHealth is preparing for as many as 20 percent of its regular staff not being able to work at one time or another throughout the outbreak – the ultimate dimensions of which remain unknown.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported 1,629 cases of coronavirus, including 41…