Brevard hospitals inundated due to COVID-19 surge

Health officials urge face coverings, hand washing, social distancing and vaccines

Omni Healthcare announces plan for Brevard COVID-19 vaccine rollout

VIERA, Fla. – Hospital emergency rooms in Brevard County are inundated with patients with symptoms of COVID-19, a situation that has prompted a plea from health officials for residents to consider other options before taxing ambulance services with non-emergency calls and showing up at the ER for testing.

All three hospital systems in the county are overcapacity and continue to deal with a strong surge in patients, Brevard County Emergency Director John Scott said Monday in a news release.

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Hospitals have implemented surge plans that include the cancellation of elective surgeries and converting regular space into COVID-19 space and negative pressure rooms.

Scott also said hospital emergency rooms are seeing comparable surges in patients with COVID-19 symptoms, though not all of those visiting the ER have an emergency situation, creating safety concerns for real emergencies, such as traffic-related trauma patients, heart attack victims and others.

Scott said it’s important that residents and visitors to Brevard County increase their vigilance and “return to what we know helps slow the spread when it comes to COVID, which is wearing face coverings, good hand hygiene, practicing social distancing when possible and, of course, we know we have a solution to this, which is our vaccine, and we encourage people to get as much good information that’s out there and make sure they know where to get them.”

Scott said it’s also important that people looking to be tested for COVID-19 symptoms do so, not at an ER, but at an urgent care, pharmacy or through their own personal physicians.

“It is imperative that we pull together, we get through this and slow this curve to relieve the stress on our hospital system and our healthcare system so we can take care of everyone who gets sick,” Scott said.

The DOH has testing sites listed at

Some delays and backlogs are being encountered where testing is available. At some locations, appointments are necessary. Others have seen long lines or are requesting patients to wait in their vehicles until notified to come inside for a test.

Brevard County Fire Rescue Chief Mark Schollmeyer said his department has seen an increase in COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 symptomatic patients over the last several weeks that equals, if not exceeds, the height of the pandemic in 2020.

“Subsequently, our BCFR ambulances are seeing an increase in hospital times due to not being able to turn patients over to hospital staff,” he said, referring to ERs filled with patients suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. “We continue to ask that people use 911 sparingly for non-emergent issues and to save the ambulances and ER trips for those who urgently need those services. Just being COVID positive but asymptomatic does not always make it a life-threatening emergent condition requiring a trip to the ER. We ask people to take advantage of your primary care physician, telemedicine or urgent care and leave emergency room and ambulance trips for those with life-threatening or serious emergencies.”

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