'Dead is dead': Florida hospital CEO details dire situation amid COVID-19 surge

Mickey Smith, the CEO of Brooksville, Fla.-based Oak Hill Hospital, addressed the COVID-19 surge his county is facing and the effect it's having on his staff, NBC-affiliate WFLA reported Aug. 13.

"We have 133 COVID-positive patients out of our 309 total patients in the hospital," Mr. Smith said. "We've now had to dedicate five nursing units to COVID. We are very close to our ICU being filled with COVID patients."

Mr. Smith told county commissioners that 25 patients in the ICU have COVID-19, and 17 are on ventilators, ranging in ages from 25-75. Fourteen patients under 65 years old are on ventilators. Only one of those patients is vaccinated against COVID-19.

"I will tell you that I don't care what variant it is," Mr. Smith said. "There's only one protocol for treatment, if you have COVID we have that one protocol, we don't care about the variant, we don't test for it. I can tell you, I don't care whether you've been vaccinated or not, because dead is dead."

Even though bed spaces are filling up amid the surge, the biggest issue for this hospital is the effect the pandemic had on hospital staff.

"Beds are not a problem for us, it's the staff," Mr. Smith said. "My staff are worn out."

At Oak Hill, 62 employees are out because they are COVID-19-positive. Fifteen of those with COVID-19 were vaccinated.

Mr. Smith said the hospital doesn't have the staff needed to care for the sick patients admitted to the hospital. He told the newspaper that not only is the virus rapidly progressing, but the vaccines are less effective against new variants. 

Still, he urged the public to get inoculated against the virus, wash their hands and wear a mask.

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