Monday, October 25, 2021

Overwhelmed by COVID patients, Alaska health care workers also face harassment

William Brangham:

Alaska is facing the country’s worst outbreak right now. Growth there has been worsened by the state’s sheer size, and its limited health care system relying largely on major hospitals in Anchorage, the state’s largest city.

So far, 20 hospitals and health facilities in the state have introduced so-called crisis standards of care, as they lack beds and staff. Alaska has sent about 500 medical workers to assist over the next few months. Only 58 percent of the population there has been fully vaccinated.

Jenny Monk is the senior vice president of the State Hospital and Nursing Home Association of Alaska. And she joins me from Juneau.

Jenny Monk, thank you so much for being here.

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I wonder if you can give us a quick snapshot of how things are going there right now.

Jenny Monk, senior vice president, Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association: Right. Thank you. Glad to have the chance to chat today.

Well, while things seem to be improving in the rest of the country, Alaska is facing our worst phase of the pandemic. And we’re really struggling as a health system.

Since August, we have seen that the number of cases and hospitalizations are actually increasing. And clinical care is extremely limited. And we have to make really tough decisions about how to allocate scarce resources and provide care to a very large state.

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