Florida hospitals begin implementing COVID surge capacity plans, Hospital Association says

Data compares current hospitalizations in various regions

An ICU bed is empty at the San Andres Clinic which has been occupied by its former workers since it closed at the start of the year following the death of the hospital's director and owner in Caseros, Argentina, Friday, April 30, 2021. While the pandemic has swelled the need for hospital beds, many private clinics say they're struggling to survive, citing the pandemic having pushed away many non-COVID patients and losing money on coronavirus sufferers because the government insurance program doesn't pay enough to meet costs. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) (Natacha Pisarenko, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s top hospital association released grim numbers Wednesday, regarding the state of the coronavirus pandemic within health care systems.

The Florida Hospital Association shared results from its informal survey about COVID-19 hospitalizations. To note, the data was only collected from member hospitals -- not all partners responded to the survey the FHA said. Member hospitals include hospital chains in Central Florida such as AdventHealth, Orlando Health, Halifax Health and the Orlando VA Healthcare system.

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In its update, the FHA reported 8,816 patients were hospitalized statewide as of Wednesday morning. This falls short of its previous peak set last Friday of 10,179 people.

A regional snapshot revealed that Jacksonville and Orlando area member hospitals are seeing the worst of the surge.

Regional statistics according to the Florida Hospital Association. (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

FHA hospitals report more than 95% of COVID-19 patients are not fully vaccinated and that the average age of hospitalized people is younger than previous peaks.

“The virus has a new target: the unvaccinated and younger people,” FHA President and CEO Mary C. Mayhew said.

The organization said despite the spike in coronavirus patients, no hospitals are reporting a serious shortage of supplies. However, hospitals are implementing surge capacity plans as local situations warrant, due to rising infections of COVID-19.

AdventHealth, an FHA partner and Central Florida’s largest hospital chain, elevated its emergency status to level red on Tuesday. A level red status means hospitals will defer all non-time-sensitive elective outpatient surgeries to free up space.

The hospital system reported Monday it was near peak pandemic levels, as 862 patients were hospitalized due to COVID-19. Its previous record was 900 coronavirus patients in January, according to the healthcare system.

In Brevard County, Parrish Medical Center is also postponing elective surgeries until further notice. The FHA member said Wednesday it is seeing all-time high hospitalizations. Parrish Medical Center said by postponing surgeries, the hospital could devote more staff and resources to its emergency department and ICU.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking hospitalizations in each state and is keeping a 7-day rolling average. As of its latest update, Florida is seeing a weekly average of 751 hospitalizations.