Hospitals across the United States are postponing elective surgeries to free up staff and beds due to a surge in Covid-19 cases driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Administrators say hospital staff shortages have been compounded in the last month by medical practitioners isolating or quarantining as they themselves are infected or exposed to the virus.
Hospital systems in nearly half of US states including Maryland, Virginia and Ohio have announced they would postpone elective surgeries, a Reuters review of public statements and local media reports found, and at least three state governments; New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts, have implemented or recommended state-wide delays.
Most of the areas where hospitals are suspending surgeries have seen either a peak or surge in daily Covid-19 hospitalization rates during December or January, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.
The Omicron surge has also forced the National Institutes of Health to postpone elective surgeries at the largest hospital in the United States devoted to clinical research, Reuters reported.