Dr. Mary Jo Trepka says the recent surge in coronavirus cases is putting a huge strain on South Florida hospitals.
“We’re seeing the number of people who are in intensive care,” said Trepka, professor and chair of epidemiology at Florida International University. “It is even higher than it was prior to when we had our stay at home orders.”
Trepka says she knew cases would jump when things reopened but didn’t expect this — nearly 10,000 positive cases reported Wednesday alone.
“I didn’t anticipate that the increase would be as sharp as it has been,” she said.
Trepka says the strain can be seen in the shortage of ICU beds at major hospitals.
NBC 6 pulled these numbers on the amount of available ICU beds from the Agency for Health Care Administration:
- Broward Health North – 1
- Plantation General Hospital – 0
- Westside Regional Hospital South – 0
- Broward Health Coral Springs – 0
- Memorial Hospital Miramar – 0
- Doctors Hospital – 1
- North Shore Medical Center – 0
- Coral Gables Hospital – 0
- Homestead Hospital – 0
AHCA doesn’t specify how many of the ICU beds were taken by COVID patients.
“Intensive care units require specialized highly trained personnel, specific spaces and there’s a limit on that,” Trepka said.
To help ease the strain, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the old Panamerican Hospital will be turned into a 150-bed long term care center.
The state is also recruiting and shifting 100 hospital workers to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
June Ellis who works in the emergency department at JMH feels the strain.
“We continue to see an increase in COVID positive patients coming in,” Ellis said. “If you walked in today you would see a lot of patients waiting. They’re waiting for beds upstairs.”