**MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TODAY, DECEMBER 10**: Nurses at St. Elizabeth Medical Center Speak Out for Safe Patient Care, More Nurses, Better COVID preparation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2020
Contact: Corey Ellis | corey.ellis@nysna.org | 518.526.4844   
Kristi Barnes | kristi.barnes@nysna.org |  646.853.4489

More COVID patients in the hospital now than in the entire spring COVID surge

Utica, NY — With COVID cases climbing in Utica and Oneida county, St. Elizabeth Medical Center now has more COVID patients today than it had in the entire first COVID surge last spring. As of December 8, there were 104 hospitalizations in the county.

Nurses are speaking out because there are not enough nurses to deliver safe, quality patient care at the hospital. Nurses in the Medical/Surgical units are caring for 9 patients each, when they should have 5 or 6 patients, based on industry guidelines. On COVID units, nurses are caring for up to 8 patients each, when they should be caring for 4 or 5, depending on patient acuity.

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is bursting at the seams, and patients are being transferred out sooner than they would ordinarily be in order to make room for more patients. Those patient care conditions leave nurses very concerned.

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) operates St. Elizabeth, and laid off dozens of nurses in the spring.  The nurses have since returned, but there are still not enough nurses staffing the hospital, and open positions have yet to be filled. Nurses are demanding safe staffing to prepare for the COVID wave.

“We have a severe patient care crisis at St Elizabeth's due to understaffing,” said Peggy Tuttle, RN, a Medical/Surgical nurse and NYSNA nurse leader at St. Elizabeth.  “This situation could have been avoided if MVHS had taken earlier action on our continuous warnings that this was a problem. We have not been adequately staffed in months.”

WHAT: NYSNA Nurses Speak Out for Safe Patient Care at St. Elizabeth Medical Center
WHEN: TODAY, December 10 at 11:00 AM
WHERE: In front of St. Elizabeth Medical Center, 2209 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13501  
VISUALS: Masking and social distancing will be strictly observed

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The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, please visit nysna.org.

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