HOUSTON, Texas – Whether you’re sick or injured, you need healthcare workers to treat you, and Harris County Commissioners spent Tuesday taking action to meet that need and try to stay ahead of the omicron variant.
With the omicron variant ripping through the country and infecting record numbers of people, hospitals are not only struggling with keeping enough beds, but they are also struggling to find nurses and staff who can withstand the burnout rate of trying to heal a world bound in a web of continuing sickness and outbreak.
”There are some hospitals in Harris County that have 10% of their staff out sick because of COVID-19,” said Harris County Judge Lena Hidalgo.
The dire need right now is for hospitals to staff more nurses. Due to the shortage, the Harris County Commissioners authorized the hire of 664 standby nurses from all over the country to help staff Harris County hospitals in need.
Harris County Commissioners said the cost of hiring the additional nurses for roughly six weeks will be $40 million, with an additional cost of $1.5 million going to SETRAC to manage and deploy those nurses to the hospitals in need.
”These nurses will be sent to the hospitals in Harris County. The hospitals are giving us a very specific number of people that they need and they will work here for a period of six weeks”, Judge Hidalgo said.
In addition to the hundreds of extra nurses being brought in from all over the country, the Harris County Commissioners also voted to buy a total of 155,000 rapid test kits to be sent to Harris County school districts and to federally qualified community health clinics that serve citizens in need.