Rising COVID-19 numbers causes Mayo Clinic Health System staff to make a shift

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Rising COVID numbers in La Crosse also means a depleted health system. With staff out sick and quarantined, Mayo Clinic Health System has had to do some shifting.

Nursing is Jamie Rask’s job. But lately, she’s also working extra hours testing people for COVID-19.

“On our days off, or half days, or when the need is greater in the testing center, we’re transitioning over here to La Crosse in the testing center,” said Rask.

There are lots of other Mayo Clinic staff just like Rask.

“We’ve got people that are working in a number of different areas that they normally wouldn’t work in. The response teams have been wonderful. We’ve got outpatient clinical staff that are moving from their normal jobs to help, in the in-patient units we’ve got surgical staff moving from the surgical world into the COVID treatment and therapy areas,” said Matthew Tradewell, an administrator at Mayo Clinic Health System.

The pandemic has caused a staffing shortage within the hospital, causing lots of shifts in employees schedules.

“Definitely with COVID, there’s a higher need, we had to increase our staffing in the COVID tent,” said Rask.

Aside from helping with COVID patients, there are multiple staff filling in for positions that usually deliver necessities, work as door screeners, and help with cleaning.

“We have a lot of people that are waiting in the wings to help, a lot of our staff are willing to go beyond their normal jobs and they are ready to jump in where we need to and I’m confident we can continue to provide the care we need to provide,” said Tradewell.

Although these extra shifts cut into her free time, Rask says the trade off is worth it.

“When we went into nursing we knew we wanted to help other people, we wanted to help the patients and any little bit we can do to help each other makes the day go better for everyone,” said Rask.

Mayo Clinic officials say if you’d like to help out, you can apply to be a volunteer. To contact the volunteer office, head to MayoClinicHealthSystem.org.