NORTH DAKOTA — As of Wednesday, Oct. 6, nearly 1000 people have died in long term care facilities in North Dakota during the pandemic, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.
"Thank goodness, we're not going through that (now), because that was tremendously difficult" said Shelly Peterson, president of the North Dakota Long Term Care Facility. "But now we're in that issue of, can I do everything I can that I'm supposed to do every day to make sure that they're getting the care and services they need."
To ensure that can happen, the North Dakota Long Term Care Association will ask for $40 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding from the North Dakota Legislative Assembly next week.
"We're using much more contract staff, temporary staff, those prices have been exuberant," said Peterson.
Locally, Eventide in Fargo and Moorhead says the hardest hit by the staffing crisis are food services and housekeeping.
"Working in healthcare, and having as many positions as we do across all of our locations," said Carrie Carney, vice president of marketing and communications at Eventide. "We're always hiring, as many organizations are."
Eventide announced pay increases across the board on Sunday, Oct. 3.
"We know that it's what we need to do to be competitive in the market," said Carney.
Regionally, nursing shortages did cause one facility to close in Crosby, North Dakota last month.
"Our crisis is at extraordinary high levels right now," said Peterson.
Statewide, some organizations are looking at paying off nursing student loans and covering moving costs to attract employees and help bring in talent to continue to provide care.