As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads in America, a fresh wave of worry is also on the rise in rural health care facilities. As a winter surge of COVID cases begins, staff and money shortages are the main issues at hand, according to Savannah Maher for Marketplace.

From the story: “Vermont was already in dire need of health care workers, even before the pandemic drove many into early retirement and other careers, according to Jeff Tieman with the Vermont Association of Hospitals. 

“Our workforce is shrinking and stressed, you know, at a time when we need it to be growing and resilient,” he said.

In New Mexico, more than half of hospitals face critical staffing shortages. 

“The amount of physical, mental, emotional fatigue is showing,” said Deborah Walker with the New Mexico Nurses Association.

Many care providers have left the state’s overwhelmed rural hospitals on traveling nurse contracts “to pay off student loans and to command a higher salary,” she said.”

With thing as they are, many facilities in rural parts of the country are struggling to stay afloat as cases begin to rise again, highlighting an already precarious situation.

To read the rest of the story on Marketplace, click here.

SOURCE: The Rural Blog, www.marketplace.org