By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The novelty of ‘thank you’ events and ‘jet flyover’ salutes is fading across the county, as a COVID-19 marathon is now a grueling endurance challenge for area hospitals.

Baptist Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer, Bo Boulenger says, “This is how many admissions we are having in our hospital with COVID diagnosis, it is double what it was at the beginning of April.”

“This is emotionally taxing, physically taxing,” says Boulenger.

“We have asked the state to assist us by sending additional staff. We have recently contracted with a firm to bring in 100 nurses from out of state. They will be here next week to provide much-needed relief to our people who are getting tired.”

The Baptist Hospital group still has capacity, but maintaining that status is all about staffing and not necessarily the number of actual beds. The additional staffers will be welcome.

“Hospitals have X number of capacity and that capacity is really defined by your capacity to staff a patient’s bed with an appropriate ratio of nurses, to caregivers to patients,” Boulenger says.

“It is the ability to grow those beds, to utilize those beds, if you have the staff.”

“We have faced a lot of challenges over the years, no playbook for this one. Particularly stressful. I sleep well because we have a great group of people.”

Like all hospital administrators across South Florida, Baptist officials are concerned about what will be coming down in the next two weeks.