KITCHENER -- While Ontario is grappling with rising COVID-19 cases, hospitals are still struggling with staffing shortages.

"There are over 10,000 vacant positions for RNs and this is why you see what you see in the ICUs now," said Dr. Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO).

She told CTV News that there are a number contributing factors including burnout, heavy workloads, and the effects of being short-staffed.

"In Ontario, it's dramatic. There is a crisis in the RN workforce."

A spokesperson for Guelph General Hospital said there are 83 open positions, including 53 nursing jobs.

At Cambridge Memorial Hospital, officials confirm 225 vacancies for staff positions. That number has jumped since the start of the pandemic when extra staff were needed to help with COVID-19 protocols like screening and testing centres.

In Kitchener, Grand River Hospital has posted 481 jobs externally since September. While at St. Mary's General Hospital there's currently 22 job postings online.

Staffing challenges in the ICU were addressed at the Region of Waterloo's briefing last week.

"Staffing is an issue and a lot of overtime," said Mary Miller Lynch, a registered nurse at. St. Mary's General Hospital. "Everyone is emotionally exhausted."

The president at St. Mary's General Hospital said in a statement that hiring is one of the greatest challenges the health care sector is facing right now, and that recruiting and retaining staff is a priority.