Health First stopping all non-emergency surgeries to free up hospital space for COVID cases

Hospital system will still perform emergency, medically necessary surgeries

Central Florida hospitals reporting sharp increase in COVID-19 patients
Central Florida hospitals reporting sharp increase in COVID-19 patients

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Health First will temporarily stop performing all non-emergency surgeries to help free up hospital space as it sees increased patient numbers due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The hospital system announced that the change will start Monday, Aug. 2.

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“This proactive decision was made so we are prepared, and can provide additional space if needed, to care for patients in our facilities. This also provides an opportunity for clinical staff to temporarily support other critical areas,” a news release from Health First said.

Officials said anyone with a scheduled elective procedure or surgery will be contacted. The hospital system will still “perform emergent, medically necessary surgeries and procedures.”

Health First said it is working in tandem with Parrish Medical Center and Steward Medical Group.

“Some hospitals are at or near capacity and are converting available space into COVID-19 rooms. Some have cancelled most elective surgeries or procedures to prepare for a continued influx of COVID-19 cases,” a news release from the hospitals reads.

“We’re sort of in that disaster planning mode,” Dr. Jeffrey Stalnaker with Health First said in a statement. “Looking at some of the models, it would appear that we’re going to be in this as least well into August, so we’re putting contingencies in place to be able to manage that.”

According to the release, the county saw 3,516 new cases from July 23 - 29 with a positivity rate of 23.9% and 97-99% of all hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.

This new update changes Health First’s announcement earlier this week that said it would postpone some surgeries.

The Department of Health in Brevard County offers Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen COVID-19 vaccinations, based on availability, at 2555 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera.

Other Vaccine Opportunities Include:

  • Saturday, July 31 New Shiloh Christian Center 3900 Sarno Road, Melbourne, FL 32934 10 a.m - 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 4 Merritt Island Pancake House 950 N. Courtenay Pkwy Suite #18, Merritt Island, FL 32953 9 a.m.-1 p.m. **Free meal with purchase of a drink with every vaccine**
  • Wednesday, Aug. 4 Brevard Zoo 8225 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL 32940 9 a.m.-1 p.m. **Free admission with vaccine. August – Kids free with paid admission.**
  • Friday, August 6 Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church 300 Malabar Road, Palm Bay, FL 32907 10 a.m - 2 p.m.

About the Author:

Brenda, a UCF grad, joined the team in March 2021.