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Guam’s hospitals struggle with COVID amid nurse shortage

September 29, 2021 GMT

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Hospitals in the U.S. territory of Guam are struggling amid a shortage of health care workers.

The Pacific Daily News reported Wednesday that hospitals are at capacity, mostly because of a shortage of nurses.

Dr. Mike Cruz, the state surgeon for the Guam Army National Guard, said nurses are being offered more than $100 an hour in some states. As a result Guam can’t afford to bring in extra nurses and is losing some to places paying higher wages.

The hospital issues “mostly has to do with the staffing,” Cruz said. “As you are probably aware, the United States and the world is needing health care workers, specifically nurses.”

“When you come to a surge, the most important thing is to … protect the health care system. So all resources need to go toward making sure that’s not getting overwhelmed,” he said.

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A clinic was set up on the island to care for seriously ill people, he said.

The island recorded its 196th COVID-related death Wednesday.

“Each person that we lose to COVID-19 is one too many, and our hearts go out to their families and friends during their time of grieving,” said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. “In this fight, we must use all the tools at our disposal.”