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COVID-19

News >  Spokane

Spokane hospitals staff up to prepare for an increase in COVID-19 cases

UPDATED: Thu., April 2, 2020

Deaconess Medical Center, left, and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children's Hospital right, fill the Lower South Hill Skyline on Thursday, March 14, 2013. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Deaconess Medical Center, left, and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children's Hospital right, fill the Lower South Hill Skyline on Thursday, March 14, 2013. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Local hospitals are hiring in preparation for an uptick in COVID-19 patients needing treatment.

With elective surgeries and nonessential health functions temporarily halted, hospitals are in the midst of reallocating staff members into different roles, recruiting retired workers to return and looking to bring in new employees.

At Providence, officials are focusing on bringing current staff into COVID-related jobs and hiring others on as well.

“We postponed elective surgeries and temporarily closed nonessential clinics so we are currently working to redeploy caregivers from those locations into temporary positions related to our COVID work,” a statement from hospital spokeswoman Beth Hegde said. “In addition, we will likely have job openings for specialized positions in the near future.”

MultiCare is also looking at several staffing resources.

“We are identifying ways to augment our staff for surge planning through temporary help, and rehiring of recently retired providers,” hospital spokesman Kevin Maloney said in a statement. “A third source we will be tapping is current employees – which includes part-time staff becoming full time and a redeployment of them, based on their skill set, to help us shore up our staffing needs.”

MultiCare staff members have been asked to self-quarantine if they are symptomatic in an effort to keep patients and other employees safe, and MultiCare has seen an increase in employees testing positive, he said.

“Now that COVID-19 has come into our community, we expect the number of COVID-19 positive cases to go up, which includes health care workers,” Maloney said in a statement.

Providence officials would not disclose whether they have seen an increase in employees staying home due to COVID-19-like symptoms, saying they do not comment on caregivers’ health.

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