COVID-19 is posing a serious threat to the nation’s health care workforce. As cases continue to rise, there will be increasing demand and strain on the health care workforce in each state. Some states are already thinking creatively about expanding the available workforce as hospital beds are filled and health care workers are at capacity; other states are now preparing for the surge that will come in the next weeks or months. Furthermore, health care workers are at a higher risk of contracting the virus and requiring quarantine, meaning additional surge capacity may be needed to make up for lost capacity.
In responding to COVID-19, there are several strategies that governors can deploy to maximize the capacity of the health care workforce in hospitals, nursing facilities, and at home to meet increasing demand. It is critical that state policies, health systems, and providers themselves are equipped to take precautionary measures to reduce risk of infection and ensure adequate supports for this finite and overstretched workforce.
All NGA coronavirus memos can be found here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for current information on actions States/Territories are taking to address the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as advocacy, policy, and guidance documents for protecting public health and the economy.