MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Memorial Healthcare System is suspending elective procedures starting next week at its South Florida facilities. The hospital system said it is “due to the current surges in COVID-19 cases in Florida which has led to daily hospitalization rates not seen since the major spike last summer.”

Elective procedures will be suspended effective Monday, August 9, “in an effort to conserve critical resources for the care of COVID-19 patients, to provide safe healthcare, and to keep our community safe.”

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Memorial Healthcare System facilities will remain open for emergencies and all physician practices, radiology, laboratory, rehab, and cancer centers.

Memorial has already restricted its visitation policy to prevent unnecessary exposure. It is currently at a “very high risk” status meaning only one fully vaccinated visitor a day. Hours vary depending on the patient and there are no visitors allowed for outpatient and ER.

If the hospital system increases to “severe risk,” then no visitors will be allowed at all.

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As of Monday, Florida had the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the nation.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations are up 13% from Florida’s previous peak on July 23, 2020, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

FHA said it expects 60% of hospitals in the state to face a “critical staffing shortage” in the next seven days.

There are currently 11,515 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Sunshine State, according to a news release Tuesday. FHA reports of those hospitalized with COVID-19, 21% are in the ICU and 13% are on ventilators, according to FHA.

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“Current hospitalizations and the growth rate continue to be extremely troubling,” Mary C. Mayhew, president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, said in the statement. “But vaccines work! The fact that less than 3% of current hospitalizations arrived from nursing homes and long-term care facilities shows the state’s focus on vaccinating and protecting Florida’s seniors and most vulnerable has worked.”

CBSMiami.com Team