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Palomar Health workers demand support

Posted at 10:34 AM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 14:55:31-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Nurses and healthcare workers gathered Friday morning demanding Palomar Health provide more nurses and PPE to support their staff as they see a surge in patients.

Nurses said they are stretched thin and maxed out caring for our community during the pandemic.

"Palomar claims they took a hit due to the pandemic, but it's the nurses and caregivers who are taking the hit in the from of increased patient loads, unsafe staffing levels and inadequate PPE," ICU nurse Joanne Meza said.

She and a group of healthcare workers held red signs reading "Save Lives, Safe Staffing Now."

Palomar Health sent ABC 10News a statement stating they received a waiver from the California Department of Public Health Wednesday that would allow Palomar to "assign one ICU nurse to care for up to three patients, depending on patient acuity. The waiver, which only applies to one 12 bed unit which has both intensive and intermediate care patients located in the same area, has not been implemented and is only in preparation for a potential patient surge or reduction in workforce due to sickness."

The law states safe ratios are one ICU nurse to two patients.

Meza accused the hospital of furloughing employees while they knew the impact the pandemic would have.

She also accused the hospital of commingling COVID and non-COVID patients.

Palomar said that is "completely false. As a healthcare system, it is irresponsible to instill fear in our community. These false allegations by the union are frightening and endanger the health and safety of our community by discouraging people with serious conditions from seeking medical care."

Palomar also said they always meet or exceed PPE requirements.