Central Florida hospitals close to ICU capacity as COVID-19 cases increase

As of Monday evening, the data shows ICU capacity is at 68% nationwide

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County leaders are reporting some of the highest COVID-19 cases since the holiday peak back in January, including almost 2,000 new cases this past weekend and five deaths.

“We’re asking everybody to do their part,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said.

Positive cases continue to rise, Floridians are getting a glimpse of the many ICUs getting close to capacity.

Dr. Jason Salemi is an Associate Professor Of Epidemiology at the University of South Florida. He tracks COVID-19 data, and he’s also familiar with US Department of Health and Human Services Data compiled by the New York Times.

“I think it should be something that concerns everybody,” Dr. Salemi said. “More people are getting the virus, and we still have a lot of vulnerable people.”

As of Monday evening, the data shows ICU capacity is at 68% nationwide.

Here in Central Florida, a check of the larger hospitals shows that Orlando Regional Medical Center is at 97% capacity, Advent Health Orlando was at 93% capacity, and Halifax Health in Daytona Beach was at 55% capacity. Read more of that data here.

“The name of the game is to keep people out of the hospital,” Gov. Ron Desantis said.

AdventHealth released this statement late Monday:

“It is typical for hospitals to have capacity figures in the 90th percentile even in pre-COVID times, so these numbers do not cause for concern or alarm. While we have seen an increase in hospitalizations in Central Florida over the last few weeks, we still have significantly fewer COVID patients compared to what we saw during the peak. Even during the peak, at no point did we reach capacity.

It’s important to realize that capacity numbers are snapshots in time. 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, should they be needed. AdventHealth also has an extensive health care system in place in Central Florida so we can locate patients to the facility that best matches the level of care they need.”

Orlando Health issued a statement:

“Orlando Health is seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients reflective of the spread within the community. As a system, we continuously evaluate and adjust our operations to determine the best use of our resources to accommodate the needs of our patients.”

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.