Continued covid-19 testing demand is exacerbating longstanding staffing shortages at laboratories and leading to employee burnout, reports the Wall Street Journal

Brandy Gunsolus’s staff at the Augusta University Medical Center has expanded laboratory operations to meet the nonstop demand for coronavirus testing. Many of the 23 technologists involved with Covid-19 testing are working overtime, running patient samples and chasing down scarce supplies—all while trying to keep turnaround times low.

Augusta University Medical Center has awarded salary increases to its entire laboratory staff to encourage them to stay on, and some workers have delayed retirement, she said. The center also brought in traveling medical laboratory scientists under contract to help ease the workload. But as the heightened response trudges on, Dr. Gunsolus says she can sense the frustration.

“You might be able to do it for a few weeks or days, but now we’re going into months and months, and there’s no end in sight, said Dr. Gunsolus, who manages the immunology laboratory at the medical center. “We do not have the staff to sustain it.”

As the U.S. has processed more than one million daily Covid-19 tests four times in the past week, the demands placed on laboratories are exacerbating longstanding staffing shortages, lab specialists say. Now, some laboratories are grappling to find solutions to address labor shortages and prevent employee burnout, including hiring traveling laboratory scientists, investing in automation and sometimes flexing schedules or raising salaries.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal (subscription required to read full article).