AdventHealth officials prepare for possible surge as COVID-19 positivity rate increases

At this time, Central Florida health officials have not seen increase in hospitalizations

ORLANDO, Fla. – AdventHealth is preparing for a possible surge in hospitalizations amid a rise in COVID-19 cases throughout Central Florida, health officials announced at a virtual news briefing Thursday.

Dr. Vincent Hsu, AdventHealth’s executive director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiologist, said the health care organization is keeping its guard up with the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and positivity rate.

[TIMELINE: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]

“We’re not seeing a surge in hospitalizations due to omicron at this time,” Hsu said. “We’ve learned from previous surges, however, that the positivity rates at our Centra Care urgent centers can be a good indication that an increase in hospitalizations are coming and so certainly we’re not taking that for granted.”

According to the Florida Hospital Association, there are currently 1,580 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Florida, with only 26% of ICU beds available.

Hsu also added that, as of Wednesday, the single day positivity rate at Centra Care clinics was nearly 27%.

“Just a few weeks ago, it was at 5.5% so, as a result, we’re not taking any chances. Even though we are not seeing a surge right now in our patient population from an inpatient standpoint, we are prepared,” Hsu said. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure that we are prepared for (a) potential surge in hospitalizations.”

And with Christmas days away, Orlando’s COVID-19 testing site at Barnett Park is packed with people trying to get their tests before the holidays. In fact, it was so crowded it closed at 1 p.m. on Thursday, marking the ninth day in a row the site reached capacity.

Genesis Noguera said she’s getting tested for COVID-19 because she’ll be at a family gathering. She added that she looked for the at-home COVID-19 testing kit, but had no luck finding any.

“We’ve been to Walgreens, CVS, but there’s none in any places that we went. Zero. And we just found this place,” Noguera said.

Others, like Rafaela and her family, need a negative test result to fly back home.

“We need to come back to Brazil and they are asking for PCR,” she said.

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.