Central Florida’s largest hospitals out of ICU beds but say they can scale up if COVID-19 demand increases

Orlando Health can surge ICU capacity to 500 beds, officials say

ORLANDO, Fla. – Some of Central Florida’s largest hospitals are out of adult intensive care unit beds and running low on regular hospital beds, according to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration hospital bed dashboard. However, local hospitals say they can increase their capacity to meet coronavirus demand should the need arise.

In Seminole County, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients reached a new record high on Tuesday, according to a news release from the county.

Official figures show there are 203 coronavirus patients hospitalized -- an increase of 40 compared to the previous record set over the weekend -- and hospital bed availability is down to 13%.

Central Florida Regional, Orlando Health South Seminole, AdventHealth Altamonte Springs, Encompass Health Rehabilitation hospital of Altamonte Springs, all have 0% ICU beds available. Oviedo Medical center has two ICU beds available, according to the AHCA hospital bed dashboard.

In Orange County, Orlando Regional Medical Center, Orlando Health-Health Central and Orlando Health Dr. Phillips Hospital are showing zero adult ICU beds available.

News 6 reached out to AdventHealth and Orlando Health, the regions largest healthcare providers, to verify if the state-run dashboard is an accurate reflection of local hospital capacity. According to the AHCA, the dashboard was updated as of Tuesday afternoon.

Orlando Health Director of Public Affairs Kena Lewis said the AHCA dashboard is up to date with information provided by the hospitals but the numbers don’t reflect the overall bed capacity because, if needed, they can scale up to meet increased demand.

“In mid-March, as patient volumes declined and fewer beds were needed, Orlando Health began consolidating units to reduce the number of beds – including ICU beds – that were staffed and in operation. The current operational bed count is what we report to AHCA and what appears on their website. That number is not Orlando Health’s total bed capacity. Across all of our operations, we have nearly 3,300 beds. Nearly 200 of those are ICU beds and we have the capacity to surge up to 500 ICU beds if it becomes necessary,” Lewis said in an email. “We are carefully monitoring the increases in patient volumes. If the need for additional beds grows, Orlando Health will re-open units and make other necessary adjustments in order to meet the needs of the community.

In response to inquiries, AdventHealth issued this statement:

“AdventHealth’s facilities across Central Florida have sufficient capacity to care for patients, including those with COVID-19. Our hospitals are designed in such a way that spaces are flexible and expandable. We have sufficient supplies of ventilators, monitors and other specialized equipment in order to quickly convert spaces in the hospital to both standard and ICU level rooms. We did a significant amount of planning in March and April to identify areas that could be converted if needed. AdventHealth also has an extensive health care system in place here in Central Florida so we can locate patients to the facility that best matches the level of care they need.”

Orange County health officer Dr. Raul Pino, with the Florida Department of Health, said on Monday that hospitalizations have increased locally in the past two weeks.

As of Monday, Pino said 357 people were hospitalized in Orange Country with coronavirus. He said that was an increase of 164 cases since June 28.

There are 72 people in Orange County ICU beds as of Monday, an increase of 35 cases since June 28, according to Pino.

Pino said although there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in hospitalizations the healthcare systems in Central Florida are not at capacity. He said sometimes hospitals are able to add more beds as needed.

“The systems are reporting that they are not concerned about the need for a surge yet as a system,” Pino said. “It could be that a hospital have more cases in order and things have to be shuffled and readjust.”

He said as of Monday morning 500 hospital beds were available across Orange County, 499 ventilators and 50 ICU beds for adults and 46 pediatric beds.

Across the state since March 1, 16,425 people with COVID-19 have been hospitalized, on Tuesday the state reported 380 new hospitalizations. However, the Florida Department of Health has never reported the current number of hospitalized coronavirus patients.

More than 213,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Florida since March and the state is approaching a death toll of 4,000 deaths with residents and non-resident fatalities.

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