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Florida hospital shuts down labor and delivery unit due to COVID-19 surge

Holy Cross Health is temporarily halting services for pregnant women hoping to give birth there because of staffing shortages amid a surge in statewide infections, a spokesperson said.

A South Florida hospital has temporarily shuttered its labor and delivery unit amid an increase in COVID-19 cases causing “critical staffing levels,” a spokesperson said.

Pregnant women planning to give birth at Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale will have to seek accommodations elsewhere, the hospital said in a statement Monday to NBC News.

“Due to the COVID-19 surge, Holy Cross Health has reached critical staffing levels in Labor and Delivery. In the best interest of patient safety, the Labor and Delivery unit is on diversion until further notice. The NICU and Post-Partum remain open,” the statement said.

Holy Cross Health.Google Map

“People are out sick due to the surge in COVID-19 cases,” Holy Cross spokesperson Christine Walker added in an interview with NBC Miami.

The omicron variant last month overtook delta as the dominant coronavirus variant in the U.S. less than three weeks after the country’s first omicron infection was confirmed. As of Dec. 17, more than 73 percent of new cases in the country, had been caused by the omicron variant, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida has seen some of the worst infection spikes in the country over the past two weeks. As of Monday morning, there have been 474,679 COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks. That represents a 119 percent increase over one week, and an 878 percent surge over the past two weeks.

The two-week uptick in Florida is the worst in the country among states during that period. Only the U.S. territories, the U.S. Virgin Islands, which saw a 2,142 percent increase, and Puerto Rico, with a 1,355 percent increase in the past two weeks, have higher increases.

Hospital employees are being heavily hit among the country’s surge in cases.

Hospitals, which reported staffing shortages last week, according to the Department of Health & Human Services, are among the services at the forefront of the labor shortfall.

As people waited for COVID-19 tests in lines that wound down city blocks, CityMD, the privately owned urgent care clinic in New York and New Jersey, announced that it was temporarily closing 19 of its 150 locations because of staffing shortages. It closed more locations Wednesday.

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This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.