MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As the number of coronavirus patients continues to rise in South Florida, the amount of Remdesivir, a drug which has been found to help COVID-19 patients, has run out at Miami’s Jackson Health System.
Jackson Health System, which operates one of Florida’s biggest hospitals, released this statement on Monday.
“Jackson has been working closely with the state to obtain the drug Remdesivir. The state, which has been donating the drug to Jackson, temporarily ran out of its supply last Tuesday. We are currently in the process to secure more supplies. During this time, Jackson has enough supply of the drug to ensure that those patients who met criteria were still able to receive this treatment.”
Early studies testing Remdesivir in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 found that those who received the treatment recovered quicker than those who didn’t. It is the only drug licensed by both the U.S. and the European Union as a treatment for those with severe illness from the coronavirus.
Miami-Dade County now has more than 1,600 hospitalized coronavirus patients, double what it had two weeks ago. Of those, 331 are in intensive care and 168 are on ventilators, figures that have also doubled. Miami-Dade has been the state’s hardest-hit area along with its South Florida neighbors, Broward and Palm Beach counties. They have also seen recent spikes.
Dr. David De La Zerda, a pulmonologist at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, said if the new infection rate isn’t slowed, his hospital soon won’t have enough rooms or ventilators and the staff will be stretched thin.
“COVID patients require more nurses, more respiratory therapists. The nurses need to check on them more often,” De La Zerda said.
“Our volume of COVID-19 patients in our ICUs has been fairly steady for the last week,” according to a statement released by Jackson Health System on Monday. “By again canceling non-emergency, non-urgent inpatient procedures, we will free up additional beds over the next few days. But the capacity of any hospital system is limited, and it’s essential that our community do their part. Stay home as much as possible. Wear a mask whenever you leave. Stay six feet away from others. Practice excellent hand hygiene.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez blamed his county’s spike on young adults visiting restaurants and other indoor gathering spots without wearing masks and not practicing social distancing. He also blamed the recent protests over the death of George Floyd while he was being arrested by Minneapolis police. People under 35 are significantly less likely to die from COVID-19 than those over 65, but they can spread the disease to their older family members, co-workers and friends.
“We can tamp down the spread if everyone follows the rules, wears masks and stays at least 6 feet apart,” he said in a statement. “If you don’t have to go out, remember, you are safer at home.”
Gimenez said Monday that starting Wednesday, restaurants will be limited to takeout and delivery service and gyms, banquet halls and short-term vacation rentals like those available on Airbnb will be closed.
Miami-Dade’s announcement came shortly after Florida recorded 6,336 new confirmed cases statewide, raising the total to 206,447 since the state’s outbreak was first identified March 1. The state says 3,880 people have died from the virus.
Over the last week, about 43 Floridians a day have died of the disease, up from 30 a day three weeks ago but still below the 60 a day recorded in early May. Hospitalizations are up about 40% statewide over the last two weeks.
Part of the reason for the spike in the raw number of infections is more people are being tested: 45,000 a day, about double the figure of a month ago. But the positivity rate for tests is increasing far quicker: for the past week it has been more than 18%, four times higher than a month ago when the weekly average stood at 4.6%. A month ago, the state was averaging about 1,500 new confirmed coronavirus cases a day.
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