MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Anticipating a surge of coronavirus-related hospitalizations, two South Florida hospitals announced big changes on the care of sick children.

Baptist Health South Florida, which includes Baptist Children’s Hospital, says it will move all children who are admitted or require admission to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

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“All the projections indicate that COVID is going to severely tax bed capacity, staffing and supplies in all the hospitals in Miami-Dade County,” said said Bo Boulenger, the CEO of Baptist Health South Florida

In a joint statement, Baptist Health, the largest health care organization in the region, teamed up with the nonprofit Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to prepare for an expected surge of coronavirus patients in the coming weeks.

“It is our hope that this collaboration will help our colleagues at Baptist Health take care of adult patients with COVID-19. It also allows Nicklaus Children’s to do what we do best,” said Matthew Love, CEO and president of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

Any pediatric patient that comes through the Baptist Health Emergency Department will be sent to Nicklaus Children’s, if they need to be admitted.

Boulenger told CBS4 the move will open up 22 ICU beds at Baptist in addition to more that are coming online.

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“On the Baptist Hospital campus, we just built a new bed tarp. The ground floor of that is a brand new ICU which came on service last week. We have 48 more ICU beds coming online at Baptist Hospital… April 8th we’ll have another floor of 48 beds come online,” he said.

Three pediatric patients are already scheduled to be moved in the next 24 hours. But Love said they’re fully prepared to take in more patients.

“We’re ready to take all patients. Whether it’s a handful or whether it’s more than that, we’ll take all patients over here,” he said.

“We’re considering this the calm before the storm. The volume of positive and possible positive patients is starting to grow. It’s doubling every two or three days,” Boulenger said.

This will not affect the NICU. Also, pediatric cancer patients will stay where they are to ensure continuity of treatment.

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