CRANSTON, Rhode Island (WBZ NewsRadio)— A state-run psychiatric hospital in Cranston is suspending vacations for staff, after a surge in Covid-19 cases and a state-wide shortage of healthcare workers across Rhode Island.
The Associated Press reports that a spokesperson for Eleanor Slater Hospital confirmed 14 patients and 35 staff members at the facility tested positive for the virus earlier in the week.
In a letter to staff, the facility said the policy went into effect on Wednesday, after it was signed off on by the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.
Facility administrators said they acknowledge how much their staff need the time off, and hope that the cancellation measure is only temporary.
Emergency conditions at the hospital have allowed employees to continue working under additional safety precautions, even if they were exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus.
Amid a state-wide shortage of healthcare workers across Rhode Island, Lifespan, which operates four hospitals in the state, has issued an appeal to retired doctors and nurses asking them to return to the frontlines.
Meanwhile Rhode Island will see new Covid-19 restrictions on Monday, Nov. 30. The state will undergo a two-week "pause" period where indoor dining will have limited capacity, and indoor recreational activities like gyms and sports clubs will be closed.
The state also recently announced millions in federal relief funding that will go towards local businesses that need to close and give extra funds to people who are currently receiving unemployment benefits.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kendall Buhl (@WBZKendall) reports.