Georgia to spend $125M on hospital staffing amid COVID-19 surge

Georgia will spend $125 million to send an additional 1,500 temporary workers to hospitals dealing with staffing shortages during the latest COVID-19 wave, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Aug. 16. 

The staffing investment will increase the number of workers the state is sending to hospitals from 1,300 to 2,800 through Dec. 1, the governor tweeted. It will make 450 beds available at nine regional coordinating hospitals to treat patients.

"I think the additional staffing … is just going to continue to help them with the surge that we're going through, and especially for our hospitals on the coast, South Georgia and our more rural hospitals in the central part of the state and other places, and just them having the certainty that we're going to continue the funding that we have and extend that into December," Mr. Kemp said at a news conference cited by the Georgia Recorder. "I think it's going to give them a big boost, but also be able to keep the folks that they have and not be lured to go somewhere else and work."

State officials said the staffing boost will be executed by continuing a no-bid contract with a private Alpharetta-based staffing firm, Jackson Healthcare and its HWL subsidiary, Georgia Health News reported.

Mr. Kemp also announced Aug. 16 that state offices will close heading into Labor Day weekend on Sept. 3 to encourage unvaccinated state employees to schedule their appointments and thank state employees who have already been vaccinated. 

As of 6 a.m. EDT Aug. 16, a total of 168,689,357 Americans had been fully vaccinated, or 50.8 percent of the U.S. population, according to the CDC's COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration data tracker. In Georgia, a total of 4,219,348 residents had been fully vaccinated, or 39.7 percent of the state's population.

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