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Hospitals, local government officials to meet to discuss staffing concerns

Officials from Mohave County’s four hospitals will meet with county and municipal officials to discuss staffing shortages on Thursday, Jan. 27. (Miner file photo)

Officials from Mohave County’s four hospitals will meet with county and municipal officials to discuss staffing shortages on Thursday, Jan. 27. (Miner file photo)

KINGMAN - As covid cases surge once again in Mohave County — exasperating an already existing staff shortage problem at local hospitals — community leaders are coming together to discuss possible solutions to the shortages.

The Mohave County Health Department released its latest COVID-19 report Thursday, Jan. 13 announcing that 1,290 confirmed cases of COVID had been reported in the county since Monday at noon. That brings January’s case total to 3,938 cases.

If trends continue, Mohave County is on track to beat its previous record for highest cases in a month. That was set in January 2021, when 5,402 cases were reported for the entire month.

With the county set to break its COVID records, the CEOs of the four hospitals in Mohave County attended a December Board of Supervisors meeting to request help from the county for their staff shortages, which the pandemic has only worsened.

Board members declined to declare a state of emergency over the staffing issue, but at their next meeting they did formally recognize a crisis in regards to hospital staffing.

On Jan. 27 the Mohave Health Coalition, a board made up of doctors and community leaders in Mohave County, will host a meeting in the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse in Bullhead City to address the staffing issues at the hospital.

Dr. Waheed Zehri, President of the Coalition, said he is expecting more than 30 people to attend including representatives of Lake Havasu City, Kingman and Bullhead City, all of the county supervisors except for Ron Gould, and a representative from U.S Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D-Arizona) office.

“We need to sit down and figure out how we are going to fix this problem,” Zehri said. “We have to bring everyone to the table to find a solution instead of complaining.”

According to Havasu Regional Medical Center marketing director Corey Santoriello, the Havasu hospital currently has 200 open positions across all departments at the hospital.

“We are closely monitoring our staffing levels and working diligently to ensure we can continue meeting patient needs,” Santoriello said. “We have a growing need to expand our workforce and are actively recruiting for both direct patient care and non-clinical roles.”

Santoriello said that HRMC is treating 28 patients for COVID, but that the hospital sees “a consistently high volume of COVID-19 patients.”

Teri Williams, the PR director at Kingman Regional Medical Center, said KRMC has 350 open job positions.

Hospitals aren’t the only institution being turned upside down by this recent surge. Schools and in particular student athletes have been affected. On Wednesday the Arizona Republic reported that 800 high school winter sports games had been canceled due to COVID outbreaks.

Among those 800 games were a handful of Lake Havasu High School basketball games that were canceled after players contracted the virus.

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