BANGOR, Maine (AP) – A shortage of nurses, aides and other staff at nursing homes in Maine that already existed before the pandemic is getting worse.

More than one third of the state’s nursing homes reported shortages of both nurses and aides at the beginning of this month, and more than 20% were short on other staff, according to reports filed with federal regulators.

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“The situation is dire,” John Orestis, president and CEO of North Country Associates, the state’s largest Maine-based long-term care provider, told the Maine Sunday Telegram.

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Rick Erb, president and CEO of the Maine Health Care Association, a professional organization representing more than 200 nursing homes, said the staffing shortage comes as no surprise.

“I think everyone understood staffing to be a challenge before COVID, so it’s not difficult to see how it can go from being a challenge to a crisis very quickly,” he said.

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