Staffing issues at Temple hospitals and emergency medical services are a challenge during COVID-19, officials said.

Baylor Scott & White spokesman Deke Jones confirmed hospital staffing challenges but did not elaborate on specific numbers.

“We will continue to work with the state to meet the current staffing challenges,” he said. “As has been widely reported, the health care industry is feeling the effects of the nationwide staffing shortage. This latest COVID-19 spike is putting extraordinary pressure on our hospitals, our emergency departments, and our healthcare professionals.”

Jones added that the health provider uses various methods to combat shortages and keep patients and workers safe.

“We welcome traveling nurses as well as additional medical personnel available through the state and will continue to work with the state to meet the current staffing challenges,” he said. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, Baylor Scott & White Health has implemented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended guidelines in an effort to keep our health care colleagues and patients safe.”

In order to fight the highly contagious omicron variant, Jones asked the community to protect vulnerable members of population.

“We urge the community to help us and each other by getting vaccinated, getting boosted, distancing, and wearing a mask,” he said.

Nichole Michel, a spokeswoman from Temple EMS, said a steep rise in infections nationwide has led to oversaturated hospitals and increased calls for ambulances.

“Like many health care and emergency medical service providers, Temple EMS is seeing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on both staffing and response capabilities,” she said. “Additionally, we are seeing a number of breakthrough cases in vaccinated populations, including our own caregivers.”

She added that the challenges are not unique to Temple or Texas but nationwide due to the omicron variant.

“Temple EMS is working diligently to help the community get through this challenging time,” said Michel. “We continue to respond to all 911 requests promptly and safely. To ensure the safety of our caregivers and patients, we follow very thorough decontamination policies to make sure all vehicles and equipment are safe and clean. Our caregivers also utilize proper PPE (personal protective equipment) and practice frequent hand washing and mask use.”