4 Florida hospitals evacuate, close ahead of Idalia

Four Tampa, Fla.-area hospitals have evacuated and closed in preparation for Hurricane Idalia, the Tampa Bay Times reported Aug. 28.

Eighty-three patients from New Port Richey-based HCA Florida Trinity West Hospital and HCA Florida West Tampa Hospital were transferred by ambulances to other HCA facilities while others from HCA Florida Pasadena Hospital were ferried to other facilities. This is the second year in a row a major storm forced the hospital to close, according to the report.

"This precaution is now underway/complete, ahead of the storm's impact to ensure the safe and careful transfer of each patient," the hospital said in a statement.

Eight free-standing emegency rooms will also be closed during the storm, a HCA spokesperson told the Times. 

AdventHealth North Pinellas Hospital in Tarpon Springs also evacuated 60 patients and closed at 3 p.m. Aug. 29 "out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our patients, visitors and team members," it said in a news release shared with Becker's.

Other local hospitals are preparing for the storm. Tampa General Hospital, the region's only level 1 trauma center, plans to remain open through Idalia. Maintenance crews began assembling an "aqua fence," a barrier designed to withstand storm surges of up to 15 feet above sea level, around the hospital campus, according to the Times.

"We have activated our emergency response plan and opened our incident command center to enable and support continued operations," the hospital saidn in a news release shared with Becker's.

Hurricane Idalia is expected to make landfall on Aug. 30.

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