KINGMAN — As covid cases rise again in Mohave County — exacerbating an already existing staffing shortage problem at local hospitals — community leaders are meeting to discuss possible solutions to the shortages.
The Mohave County Health Department released its latest COVID-19 report on Thursday, January 13 announcing that 1,290 confirmed cases of COVID have been reported in the county since noon Monday. This brings the total number of cases for January to 3,938 cases.
If trends continue, Mohave County is on track to break its previous record for highest cases in a month. This was set in January 2021, when 5,402 cases were reported for the whole month.
With the county poised to break its COVID records, the CEOs of Mohave County’s four hospitals attended a December board of oversight meeting to seek county assistance for their staffing shortages, which the pandemic only made it worse.
Board members refused to declare a state of emergency over the staffing issue, but at their next meeting they formally acknowledged a crisis regarding hospital staff.
On Jan. 27, the Mohave Health Coalition, a council made up of Mohave County physicians and community leaders, will host a meeting at the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse in Bullhead City to address staffing issues at the hospital.
Coalition chairman Dr. Waheed Zehri said he expects more than 30 people, including representatives from Lake Havasu City, Kingman and Bullhead City, all county supervisors except Ron Gould, and a representative of US Senator Mark. Kelly (D-Arizona) office.
“We have to sit down and figure out how we’re going to solve this problem,” Zehri said. “We need to bring everyone to the table to find a solution instead of complaining.”
According to Corey Santoriello, Marketing Manager of Havasu Regional Medical Center, Havasu Hospital currently has 200 vacancies across all departments of the hospital.
“We are closely monitoring our staffing levels and working diligently to ensure we can continue to meet patient needs,” Santoriello said. “We have a growing need to expand our workforce and are actively recruiting for direct patient care and non-clinical roles.”
Santoriello said HRMC is treating 28 patients for COVID, but the hospital is seeing “a consistently high volume of COVID-19 patients.”
Teri Williams, director of public relations at Kingman Regional Medical Center, said KRMC has 350 vacancies.
Hospitals are not the only institution upset by this recent wave. Schools and especially sports students have been affected. On Wednesday, the Arizona Republic announced 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.