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ASHEBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Randolph County’s only hospital is out of space in its intensive care unit, with few beds available to patients on other floors. 

“It’s a challenge. I think all health care systems right now are really being challenged. We’re short-staffed, there’s an influx of patients, and what we’re seeing is an influx of COVID patients and they’re staying longer because they’re sicker,” said April Thornton, Randolph Health’s vice president of public relations and marketing. 

The hospital has enough staff for 60-61 beds in the hospital, and six beds in the ICU. Thornton said Friday all beds are full. 

“They have to hold, so right now our emergency department, we have a 20-bed emergency department. Ten of those beds are taken up by patients holding to go upstairs, so that means we only have 10 beds to treat true emergencies that are coming in,” Thornton said. 

She said wait times in the emergency department are longer than they should be. 

“We can’t transfer anywhere all hospitals are in the same situation, so you just have to bear down and try to get discharges out as quickly as possible so you can move patients up,” Thornton said. 

Randolph Health is treating 26 COVID patients currently, the majority are unvaccinated. 

“We are seeing those patients and they are sick, they’re very, very sick and the only way to help save yourself and your family is to get vaccinated,” Thornton said. 

She said the hospital is looking to hire about 150 employees to ease staffing shortages, about 20 openings are for nurses. 

“We have a really robust retention and recruitment plan right now, we’re offering $16,000 sign-on bonuses to get nurses and we have started to see some traction there,” Thornton said. 

The hospital is getting creative with staffing solutions and offering benefits for anyone picking up extra shifts. 

“Not only have we had a global pandemic with COVID, we just came out of bankruptcy as an organization and we were just purchased July 1 by a new owner, so our staff they are resilient. They’re dedicated to the hospital and to their patients, and that’s why they’re here every day caring for this community and I’ve never been more proud of them,” Thornton said.