The University of Vermont Medical Center enacted an emergency staffing plan on January 13 due to staff shortages but are already facing more challenges.

A total of 310 employees have tested positive and over 400 staff members are out due to the pandemic and other factors like having to take care of children and loved ones.

The hospital is currently at 86 percent capacity, which includes 34 COVID patients, 6 in the ICU and one child.

As part of the emergency staffing plan, Hospital President and Chief Operating Officer Stephen Leffler says they’re moving staff around on a voluntarily basis.

“So early in the pandemic, our big challenge was intensive care capacity and ventilators. Now we’re worried about staffing. Now we’re worried about having enough people to care for. It’s really changed – omicron has really changed that.” 

Leffler adds the hospital has deployed a number of FEMA staff and plans to receive more nursing staff from the state and other hospitals but expects the cases to level off in the coming weeks.