Florida hospitals struggling to get oxygen

Florida hospitals are struggling to get enough oxygen to treat their COVID-19 patients as virus cases surge because of the delta variant, Bloomberg reported Aug. 4. 

Restrictions on how long truck drivers can be on the road went back into effect when the state's public health emergency rules were lifted, and there is a shortage of qualified drivers to transport oxygen to hospitals, according to Bloomberg

David Sanford, the director of the White House's supply chain task force, told Bloomberg that there is "plenty of oxygen, just not in the right area." 

He said the fastest way to help hospitals get more oxygen would be to move it from somewhere else in the state or to ask industry players to reallocate their supplies in the state. He also told Bloomberg that he plans to work with Matheson Tri-Gas and the Florida Division of Emergency Management to address the issue. 

Hospitals are "fighting with a hand tied behind their back and don't have the same chance that they did when states had the public health emergencies declared," Soumi Saha, PharmD, vice president of advocacy at hospital group purchasing organization Premier, told Bloomberg

Memorial Healthcare System in Miami told the White House that transportation issues meant it was struggling to get enough oxygen to treat its patients, Bloomberg reported. The system thought it would run out of oxygen Aug. 4, but it was resupplied that morning. 

Florida has 11,515 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of Aug. 3, and 84 percent of the state's inpatient hospital beds are being used, the Florida Hospital Association told Bloomberg

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