By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It is an emergency with no clear outcome, hospital beds filling up in South Florida as COVID-19 cases skyrocket.

“The occupancy is variable. It’s worse in Miami-Dade than Broward,” said Dr. Rodolfo Blandon, President of the Cleveland Clinic in Weston.

Dr. Blandon says they are at 90 percent capacity, but the patients are different from the start of the pandemic

“They are in the hospital less. Ventilators, mortality is lower.”

Watch CBS4’s Hank Tester’s report:

 

Still, the Cleveland Clinic is making back up plans, looking for more bed space. Bringing in medical staff from outside and shifting elective procedures to an ambulatory center.

“We are watching the numbers (of positive cases) because they tell us what the hospital rate may be in two weeks’ time,” he says.

The numbers at Broward Health, which still has beds available and at Memorial Healthcare. They are also looking to create additional bed space.

“We are approaching that point where we won’t have enough space.”

Toni Baldie is a critical care nurse at Northwest Medical Center in Coral Springs.
Her concerns go beyond capacity.

“On a daily basis, I’m worried about running out of PPE. If I get sick or my family
gets sick, it would be traumatizing.”

Twenty percent of the staff at Jackson Memorial has tested positive for the virus. They are also working on bringing in outside staff.

“We have gone from 38 to 52 ICU beds,” said Jackson South’s Dr. Andrew Pastewski.

He has had the virus along with his family and says the patients dying still had a lot of life to live.

He mourns the many lives he has seen cut short by the virus. He says many who didn’t
survive would have had productive lives if it weren’t for the virus.

“A mother and grandmother came in and only one went home,“ he says fighting back
tears.

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Hospitals can convert specific beds into ICU beds, if necessary.

At Jackson Health System, they can move patients to other hospitals.

At this time, 82 of 234 total ICU beds at Jackson’s three hospitals are occupied by COVID patients.

However, Jackson Health System actually has 1,806 licensed hospital beds. The bed number includes Holtz Children’s Hospital, Jackson Memorial, Jackson South, and Jackson North.

Broward Health, which still has beds available, and Memorial Healthcare are looking to create additional bed space.

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