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Covid surge shuts down baby delivery unit at Fort Lauderdale hospital

Holy Cross Health is temporarily halting services for women hoping to give birth because of staffing shortages in a surge of infections statewide, a spokesperson said.

A South Florida hospital has temporarily shuttered its labor and delivery unit as an increase in Covid-19 cases causes "critical staffing levels," a spokesperson said.

Women planning to give birth at Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale will have to seek accommodations elsewhere, the hospital said in a statement Monday.

"Due to the COVID-19 surge, Holy Cross Health has reached critical staffing levels in Labor and Delivery. In the best interest of patient safety, the Labor and Delivery unit is on diversion until further notice. The NICU and Post-Partum remain open," the statement said. ("NICU" is short for "neonatal intensive care unit.")

Holy Cross Health.Google Map

Holy Cross spokesperson Christine Walker said in an interview with NBC Miami that "people are out sick due to the surge in Covid cases."

The omicron variant of the coronavirus overtook the delta variant last month as the dominant strain in the U.S., less than three weeks after the country’s first omicron infection was confirmed. As of Dec. 17, more than 73 percent of new cases in the country had been caused by the omicron variant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida has had some of the worst infection spikes in the country over the past two weeks. As of Monday morning, there had been 474,679 Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks, a 119 percent increase over one week and an 878 percent surge over the past two weeks.

The two-week increase in Florida is the worst among states during that period. Only two U.S. territories, the U.S. Virgin Islands, which had a 2,142 percent increase, and Puerto Rico, with a 1,355 percent increase in the past two weeks, have had higher increases.

Hospital employees are being heavily hit in the country’s surge in cases.

Hospitals, which the Department of Health and Human Services said reported staffing shortages last week, are among the services at the forefront of the labor shortfall.

As people waited for Covid tests in lines that wound down city blocks, CityMD, the privately owned urgent care clinic in New York and New Jersey, announced that it was temporarily closing 19 of its 150 locations because of staffing shortages. It closed more locations Wednesday.