Local hospitals say they are ready for a potential influx of patients

The battle is to maintain enough equipment and beds as the cases of COVID-19 continue to increase

UF Health Jacksonville (WJXT 2020)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Governor announced today an executive order for hospitals to save protective gear for patients with coronavirus.

This comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States increases each day, pushing health care officials.

Local hospitals are preparing for the pandemic, in hopes, it won’t overwhelm the healthcare system.

News4Jax has been looking into how much each hospital can hold and where hospitals stand with supplies.

The battle is to maintain equipment and beds.

Hospitals in our area say they feel they are ready and have the supplies they need.

We asked where hospitals stood on bed capacity and hospital supplies like N95 masks.

We weren’t given the numbers we asked for from most hospitals, instead a spokesperson for Memorial Hosptial and Orange Park Medical Center said:

“Right now both Memorial Hospital and Orange Park Medical Center have the bed capacity, staffing, and supplies and equipment needed to care for our community.” And say “We can all help our friends and neighbors by not coming to the hospital if we’re suffering from mild symptoms. This will allow hospitals to save supplies for patients that need emergency care.“

Mayo Clinic: “We continue to evaluate how to best align staff resources with the evolving patient demand” but say they are prepared to respond to any and all developments with COVID-19."

UF Health: “[We] currently have those supplies, but like many other hospitals, are being extremely vigilant to make sure we have enough moving forward.“

Baptist Health: “We have been preparing for COVID for months, and part of that includes ensuring that we have a proper supply of personal protective gear."

We talked to one soon-to-be mother who is preparing to deliver in the next two weeks. She talks about how she’s feeling as she prepares to give birth amid a pandemic.

News4Jax also took a look at hospital bed capacity. According to an Associated Press analysis of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid cost reports data, UF Health Shands in Gainesville, Baptist Medical and UF Health Jacksonville have the largest hospital bed capacity in Northeast Florida.

News4Jax received the following statement from Ascension St. Vincents:

We are taking proactive steps with our distributor and suppliers to ensure access to supplies. We are arranging expedited shipments directly from manufacturers, assessing alternative products and taking advantage of our abilities as a statewide and national system to make intra-hospital inventory transfers when appropriate. We have also implemented conservation measures, in anticipation of further supply chain disruption over the coming months due to COVID-19. At this time, we are not experiencing any issues with our supply inventories. We are following the updated CDC guidelines regarding suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases and the use of personal protective equipment. The safety of our caregivers and patients is our utmost priority as we all work to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and care for all those in need.

Preparing for an influx of patients is something we do throughout the year, but with increased focus prior to cold and flu season, so we have plans and protocols related to surge should we need them. We have stood up our incident command center and are meeting throughout the day, every day. We are working in alignment with our local, state and national public health and community partners and suppliers to assess our readiness and address any identified needs.

About the Author:

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.