Staffing shortage amid COVID surge shuts down labor and delivery unit at Holy Cross Health

NICU, postpartum units remain open

A staffing shortage due to the surge in coronavirus cases has led Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale to temporarily shut down its Labor and Delivery unit.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Staffing shortages at a South Florida hospital amid the surge in COVID-19 cases has forced the shutdown of an entire department there.

The rise in infections also has local officials opening new testing sites in South Florida.

In Broward County, Holy Cross Health joined a growing list of hospitals nationwide to be hit hard by the record-breaking number of coronavirus cases.

A statement from Holy Cross on Sunday read:

“Due to the COVID-19 surge, Holy Cross Health has reached critical staffing levels in Labor and Delivery. In the best interest of patient safety, the Labor and Delivery unit is on diversion until further notice. The NICU and Post-Partum remain open.”

Jackson Memorial Hospital, meanwhile, is treating 414 covid-positive patients — almost twice what they reported last week.

“There’s still the danger that there’s going to be a surge and overrun the healthcare system,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.

Fueled by busy holiday travel as seen Sunday at Miami International Airport and family holiday gatherings, the highly contagious omicron variant has a tight grip on Florida.

The uncertainty of who is spreading the virus is driving a continued rush to testing sites across South Florida.

On Monday, a new testing site opened at Mullins Park in Coral Springs.

For the first week, the site will be open Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Thereafter, the site will be open each week Sunday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A new site in Margate that is also now open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. was packed throughout the day Sunday, and three more sites are opening in Broward this week as doctors urge people with minor symptoms to stay home.

“The emergency room is for emergencies,” said Dr. Geeta Nayyar, an associate professor at the University of Miami. “If you are bleeding or have a fracture, this is where you go to -- the emergency room. But right now or hospital capacity is of concern.”

CLICK HERE for the latest information on vaccination and testing sites in South Florida.

About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.