- For the week ending July 29, 110,477 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Florida, according to state health officials.
- With more than 1,000 COVID patients at hospitals across its six-county region, Orlando’s AdventHealth has suspended non-emergency operations.
- A warning from one Texas health expert: “By not getting vaccinated and doing your part, we risk crashing one of the most advanced health care systems in the world.”
Across Florida, COVID surge is ‘straining our system’Further stressing hospitals are larger-than-normal volumes of sick people crowding emergency rooms with non-COVID illnesses, Mayhew said. The combination has challenged hospitals’ capacity to staff enough nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and other clinicians to care for the surge of critically-ill patients. With more than 1,000 coronavirus patients at hospitals across its six-county region, Orlando’s AdventHealth suspended non-emergency operations last week to free up staff and space. More than 90% of COVID patients at AdventHealth’s hospitals are unvaccinated, and the small number of vaccinated patients with COVID typically have underlying conditions such as cancer or autoimmune disease, the hospital said. “We have peaked above any previous wave and it is straining our system, our physicians and all of our clinicians,” said Neil Finkler, chief clinical officer of AdventHealth’s Central Florida division.
‘Every staffed bed’ is full at some Texas hospitalsIn Texas, hospitals are preparing for the steady rise of COVID hospitalizations that are following rising cases counts. Like in Florida, Texas hospital beds are being filled with unvaccinated COVID patients, said Angela G. Clendenin, a professor at Texas A&M School of Public Health. While previous COVID-19 waves mainly involved older and middle-aged adults with existing health conditions, the new wave is claiming young adults in their 20s and 30s who need breathing machines in hospital intensive care units, Clendenin said.
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The result is hospitals are again preparing for or enacting surge plans to convert medical wings into intensive care units, she said.
“By not getting vaccinated and doing your part, we risk crashing one of the most advanced health care systems in the world,” Clendenin said.
Hospitals in South Texas are already struggling to keep up with the pace of sick patients.
South Texas hospitals in Corpus Christi, Victoria, Kingsville, Beeville and San Antonio began diverting patients. In a statement this week, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales urged available nurses to fill a staffing gap amid a surge of COVID-19 patients.
“Every staffed bed is full,” Canales said. “There are beds available but no nursing staff for them.”
While Florida and Texas accounted for one-third of all COVID cases last week, cases, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing in nearly all states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Missouri, which trails only Louisiana in cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, hospitals are preparing for stressful weeks ahead.
Hospitalizations during the delta-driven wave surpassed last winter’s peak in several communities, said Dave Dillon, a spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association.
“The growth in positivity and hospitalization that might have taken months in 2020 is now happening in weeks with delta,” Dillon said. “We’re probably in for a hard summer and fall.”
Contributing: Vicky Camarillo, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times
Ken Alltucker is on Twitter as @kalltucker or can be emailed at email@example.com