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Santa Barbara County: Healthcare staff slammed as Omicron variant spreads

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - As the Omicron variant continues to surge across the Central Coast, local hospitals and other businesses are seeing significant impact among their staff.

While Marian Regional Medical Center continues to treat incoming patients, their own staff members are experiencing more illnesses.

“We’re seeing a ton of impact right now is staff illnesses including physicians nurses support staff the hospitals and clinics extraordinarily thin right now in terms of labor shortages,” said Dr. Scott Robertson at Marian Regional Medical Center.

Robertson says this is due to labor workers being out sick as the spread of Omicron continues.

“If you think back before the pandemic … if you had a little bit of a sore throat or runny nose or a slight cough .., almost everybody would come in to work and just try to maybe limit their contact with others,” said Robertson.

But as Robertson explains, times have changed.

“It’s Very different today if you develop any of these types of upper respiratory symptoms … especially if you work in the healthcare environment … we make sure that we get employee health involved and we make sure 100 percent of these employees are tested for COVID-19 … are kept out of the workplace," said Robertson.

Robertson says the most effective way to prevent the spread is not going to work if you’re having any sort of symptoms.

JDX Pharmacy is also battling more sickness among staff.

“We’re facing a similar challenge here there been callouts more than we’ve ever had and it’s due to this. It’s extremely contagious and it doesn’t scare anybody,” said Dr. Sagar Asodia of JDX Pharmacy.

Asodia says it’s getting difficult keeping up with high  demands.

“It’s difficult to do in a setting where everything matters … if we mess up a prescription or if we forget a pill … it’s not acceptable … and unfortunately at this point in time everybody’s stressed out,” said Asodia.

As they continue serving the community, both Asodia and Robertson hope everyone takes proper precautions.

"So that everyone doesn’t get as burdened," said Asodia.

"This is another reason why it’s so important to stay healthy and keep yourself out of the hospital," said Robertson.

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.

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