UF Health keeping a close eye on PPE supplies

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida is now releasing the number of people in each county currently hospitalized for the novel coronavirus.

Until now, the state had only released the total number of people hospitalized since the pandemic began.

Late last month state officials said they would be releasing this data.

Statewide, as of Friday, there were 7,000 people hospitalized for COVID-19.

Looking at some of local counties:

Duval County: 439 patients.

Clay County: 46 patients

St. Johns County: 26 patients.

Nassau County: 6 patients.

Baker County: 14 patients.

UF Health is staying busy these days, especially as more people infected with the coronavirus show up needing help. That could eventually strain supplies of PPE.

Now that Jacksonville is officially a coronavirus hotspot as the number of people who test positive for the virus continues to climb, UF Health director of infection prevention Chad Neilsen said they are keeping a close eye on the hospital’s supply of personal protective equipment.

The hospital has been stocking up on PPE for the past couple of months and right now, the supply is plentiful enough to keep the staff safe.

“But as more patients pour into the hospital, PPE is going to go on a surge again,” he said. “More people are going to need it and we’re going to start burning through it a lot quicker.”

Neilsen said suppliers of PPE are currently not resupplying medical offices at the rate they were a month ago because other areas of the U.S. are also seeing spikes in coronavirus cases and needing more PPE as a result.

He believes other hospitals in Jacksonville could eventually face the same dilemma.

He also says staffing is good right now, but it could become an issue as more people infected with the virus require medical attention.

“We have been working with our contract agencies and others to try and find more staff nurses and different positions to ensure we got the right people in the right place at the right time,” Neilsen said. “But so is everyone else. All the other hospitals are looking at the same thing.”

He added that all of Jacksonville’s hospitals are in contact with each other to keep the entire community safe.

″Yes, we bond together. We must. We’re all in this together as a hospital community,” he said. “My counterparts and I at the other hospitals talk once a week or more. We have to do what we have to do to keep our patients and citizens of Jacksonville safe.”

Neilsen says when it comes to the resupplying PPE, they are looking into every option on the table to ensure they have what they need should their current supply significantly start to drop.

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