Florida Hospitals Taking Steps To Battle COVID Surge
Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville has notified the state that its Surge Capacity Plan has been activated and has requested approval to operate at overcapacity until the surge ends.
Florida’s largest hospital systems are expanding their COVID units, limiting visitors and fearing staffing shortages as they deal with the statewide surge in cases.
Hospitalizations have grown tenfold statewide in just over a month as the more contagious delta variant spreads, with more than 95% of COVID patients unvaccinated. Florida is now leading the nation in per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19. Hospitals say they're seeing more young people than before, some with severe cases.
The state has more than 10,200 COVID hospitalizations, compared to about 1,000 six weeks ago. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the surge is seasonal, caused by people gathering inside to avoid the summer heat and humidity. He has barred local governments and school districts from imposing mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements.
Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville has exceeded the hospital’s capacity of 304 licensed beds due to a “significant increase” in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to an email from Mayo Clinic, according to WJCT News partner News4Jax.
The TV station reported the email states that Mayo Clinic has notified the state Agency for Health Care Administration that its Surge Capacity Plan has been activated and it has requested ACHA’s approval to operate at overcapacity until the current COVID-19 surge ends.
“Hospital inpatients will be occupying unlicensed beds detailed in our approved Surge Capacity Plan and we are currently able to staff the surge areas to meet the essential needs of our patients,” the message reads, in part. “Life safety will not be jeopardized for any patients.”
A growing number of hospital systems are responding to the COVID-19 surge by reinstituting limitations from earlier in the pandemic.
BayCare's Hillsborough County locations ares temporarily stopping elective procedures and limiting patients to one adult visitor per day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m starting Tuesday.
Elective procedures that require an overnight stay in an inpatient bed are being temporarily halted at BayCare's Polk County hospitals.
However, BayCare officials say they're not changing the elective procedure schedule at their Pinellas and Pasco county hospitals.
Also, the Inpatient Nursing Units at Manatee Memorial Hospital and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center will not be allowing patient visitation with limited exceptions. Manatee Memorial is also barring visitors to its emergency room.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital and AdventHealth Central Florida previously announced visitation to COVID-positive patients will not be allowed, with a few restrictions.
Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to federal health data released Saturday and reported by the Associated Press.
Information from WJCT and the Associated Press was used in this report.