The former West Virginia public health leader forced out by the governor says decades-old computer systems and cuts to staff over a period of years had made a challenging job even harder during a once-in-a-century pandemic.
A 22-year-old EMT with “a smile that would light up any room.” A nursing assistant who never got to hold her third granddaughter born in April. An ICU nurse who treated some of the first U.S. COVID cases in February. These are some of the people just added to “Lost on the Frontline,” a special series from The Guardian and KHN that profiles health care workers who died of COVID-19.
Across the country, the recession has cut state revenues at the same time the COVID-19 pandemic has increased costs, forcing state lawmakers into painful decisions about how to balance their budgets. Health care is one of the targets even in the midst of a health care crisis.
The delays can be excruciating, with some extreme cases running more than 20 days. People getting tested at urgent care centers, community health centers, pharmacies and state-run drive-thru or walk-up sites are often waiting a week or more to find out if they tested positive for the coronavirus.
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