While the COVID-19 pandemic has Northern Colorado's healthcare force working harder than ever, some local workers are actually seeing a decrease in patients.

This is the case at Northern Colorado's Banner Health systems, which has locations in Greeley, Loveland, and Fort Collins.

"While many of our units and team members are very busy addressing the pandemic, elective surgeries and non-life threatening procedures are on hold, and that means fewer than normal patients and a reduction in work for many of our teams members," the health system stated to workers on Monday (April 20).

As a result, The Coloradoan reports that Banner Health has placed 4% of its Northern Colorado staff, roughly 70 employees, on furlough or voluntary, unpaid sabbatical.

The furlough is only expected to last for two weeks, as the health system anticipates an increase in non-coronavirus patients in the near future.

In the meantime, furloughed employees are eligible for unemployment.

Banner Health also placed a hiring freeze on a majority of its non-clinical positions. The systems' CEOs and other senior leaders will be taking a 20% pay cut starting in May.

But while the health system is cutting back in other areas, Banner is still actively recruiting essential COVID-19 jobs, and is offering a one-time bonus to workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

Its Northern Colorado facilities even welcomed 13 workers from Banner's Arizona branches to help cope with the influx of COVID-19 patients.

A spokeswoman for UCHealth, another prominent Northern Colorado healthcare system, told The Coloradoan that they are not taking similar measures at the moment.

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