Wisconsin hospitals scramble to fill staffing void amid COVID-19 surge: 5 things to know

The COVID-19 pandemic has sidelined healthcare workers throughout Wisconsin, prompting hospitals to offer signing bonuses and take other approaches to ensure their facilities are well-staffed, according to The Post-Crescent.

Five things to know:

1. Wisconsin recorded 3,493 new positive COVID-19 cases Nov. 1. Also Nov. 1, the state recorded that inpatient beds reached 85 percent occupancy. More than 340 ICU beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients.

2. Amid the COVID-19 surge, many healthcare workers are away from work because they have the virus, were exposed to it or are awaiting test results. On Nov. 1, Wisconsin recorded that 5 percent of the 228,863 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state that day were healthcare workers. 

3. Strained Wisconsin hospitals are offering high pay and large signing bonuses to attract workers who can assist with staffing needs as workers are sidelined, according to The Post-Crescent, which cited a $10,000 nurse sign-on bonus at Select Specialty Hospital in Madison as an example.

4. The newspaper reported that hospitals have also taken other approaches to address staffing, such as redeploying workers from different areas of the organization, bringing back retired workers and hiring  nursing students and traveling workers. 

5. Bellin Health in Green Bay said it redeployed more than 215 employees and hired about 56 staff that staffing agencies recruited, according to The Post-Crescent. Additionally, Ascension Wisconsin told the publication its hospitals hired  85 temporary workers and were recruiting others.

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