Florida hospital closes maternity ward over COVID staff shortages

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People wait in a long line to get a COVID-19 test, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in North Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A South Florida hospital has temporarily closed its maternity ward due to staff shortages related to recent outbreaks of COVID-19.

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Mothers-to-be who had planned on giving birth at Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale will have to find another option.

Holy Cross spokeswoman Christine Walker says in a statement: “In the best interest of patient safety, the Labor and Delivery unit is on diversion until further notice.” She says the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Post-Partum units at the hospital remain open.

Nearby hospitals including Memorial Healthcare System and Broward Health are taking on patients from Holy Cross in the meantime.

The announcement from Holy Cross comes as Florida continues to shatter daily records for new COVID cases, which are most likely fueled by the omicron variant. The variant is now the dominant strain across the United States.

Since last week, there have been long lines at testing site across South Florida and in other areas of the state.

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