ORLANDO, Fla. – AdventHealth doctors believe they are starting to see the rate of new COVID-19 infections decline, though the number of coronavirus patients they are treating remains high.
The health care system made the claim at a news briefing Thursday morning.
On Monday, AdventHealth posted online that it was caring for 1,654 patients across its hospital system. As of Thursday, that number had dropped to 1,380 patients.
“We for the last three days have seen numbers starting to fall with regards to our total number of hospitalizations for covid,” Dr. Neil Finkler, Chief Clinical Officer for AdventHealth said.
However, while doctors find this encouraging, they also warned that three days is not enough time to show a complete trend.
“I think this is all relatively good news, although three days don’t make a complete trend, but we’re certainly hopeful that this is the beginning of that downward curve and consistent with what we’ve seen with the models,” Finkler said.
The hospital system remains in “black” status due to the surge in cases, which means hospital officials will defer non-emergency surgeries at hospitals throughout Central Florida.
“The rise upwards is a very steep rise and I think the question for all of us looking forward now is what s the fall going to look like?” Finkler said. “Is the decline going to be as rapid as we went up? Are we going to decline rapidly down or are we going to have a much slower decline?”
The hospital system has been in “black” status for the past three weeks.
While many surgeries are still being deferred, AdventHealth announced on Tuesday that it has resumed a limited number of urgent outpatient procedures. The outpatient procedures taking place will be ones that do not require an overnight stay at the hospital.
There has been some concerns raised recently about the supply of liquid oxygen, which is used to treat some COVID-19 patients who are experiencing respiratory issues. The Orlando Utilities Commission recently asked customers to cut back on their water usage because liquid oxygen is used in OUC’s water treatment facility. Officials wanted to be sure that OUC was not cutting into the liquid oxygen supply of hospitals.
Despite those concerns, AdventHealth said it has an adequate supply of liquid oxygen to treat patients.
The doctors also once again pleaded with people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, even if they have already recovered from the disease. They added that children who have been infected and recovered should still wear a mask in school.
The doctors said that repeat infections are possible and that masking, social distancing and hand hygiene are the best defenses for age groups that are not yet eligible for a vaccination.