MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has agreed to send Jackson Health System extra nurses to help with the increase in COVID-19 patients filling up its intensive care unit.
At a news conference in Miami Tuesday afternoon, DeSantis announced 100 nurses under contract with the state to work in South Florida will be sent to Jackson Memorial, the state’s largest public hospital while he waits for the federal government to respond to a request he made to Vice President Mike Pence for additional medical personnel.
“I think that will be something that will be very useful for them as they continue to deal not only with COVID patients, but also non-COVID patients,” DeSantis said. “So we’re happy to be able to be supportive, and we’re standing by to do more as circumstances warrant.”
DeSantis stressed that the additional staff was needed because of the numbers of patients being seen at Jackson. While patients who test positive for COVID-19 don’t all require acute-level health care, DeSantis said hospitals are required to take extra precautions with the patients to ensure the virus doesn’t spread.
“They still have to put protocols in place to be able to isolate and to make sure that doesn’t spread to other parts of the facility. So that requires just more manpower,” the governor said.
Jackson Health System says it has been working closely with Governor DeSantis to make sure they meet the community’s needs during the pandemic.
“Thanks to their support, Jackson will acquire 100 temporary nurses, most of whom are able to treat patients in the intensive care units,” read a statement from Jackson Health System. “Jackson has been aggressively hiring to keep up with the demand, but staffing has become a top challenge. We have hired more than 80 nurses in the last two weeks, who we expect will be on board, trained, and seeing patients within 30 days.”
DeSantis also said an additional 47 beds will be sent to Jackson Health’s nursing facilities, making a total of 227 beds available.
The Jackson Health System currently has 323 COVID-19 patients with 25% of them in the intensive care unit.
“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 County now has more than 1,600 hospitalized coronavirus patients, double what it had two weeks ago. Of those, 343 are in intensive care and 175 are on ventilators, figures that have also doubled.
Florida had another 7,347 positive cases on Tuesday with 2,043 of those in Miami-Dade County.