Island Hospital continues to open up services and bring patients back to the hospital. As it does that, the administration needs to continue filling open positions and making sure there are enough people to run an increased number of services.

When the hospital shut down nonessential services in March, some of its staff members were reassigned or moved, and others were laid off or furloughed.

Some of those staff members then moved on to new jobs, leaving open positions. Other staff members are taking leave or staying home more because of childcare needs associated with the School District starting its year fully remote.

COVID-19 will affect the world for a long time, CEO Charles Hall said at a hospital board meeting last week.

“I don’t think we’ll be approaching Phase 3 any time soon,” he said of the governor’s Safe Start plan to reopen the state.

About 10% of hospital employees could be affected by school starting on a remote basis, Chief Human Resources Officer Carolyn Pape said at the meeting.

Department leaders are working with those staff members to find solutions, such as schedule changes, temporary reduction in hours and for some, working from home. Positions that can be done remotely are being identified now, and technology staff at the hospital is making sure the infrastructure is in place for people to work at home and still keep all information secure, she said.

Another portion of hospital employees who are at high risk during the pandemic are not coming to work yet. For as long as Gov. Jay Inslee’s emergency proclamation is in place, the employer must maintain their health insurance and may not permanently replace them, Pape said. The hospital may fill the jobs temporarily until the employees can return.

The proclamation follows the high risk definition set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since July 1, 57 positions have been filled, Pape said. But another 57 are actively posted, Pape said.

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