Southwest Florida hospitals boost staffing amid COVID-19 surge

Southwest Florida hospitals are boosting staffing as the state is being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the News-Press.

The efforts come as Florida reportedrecord 132 COVID-19 deaths on July 14 and more than 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 on July 12. As of July 14, more than 4,400 people have died from COVID-19 in Florida. 

At Lee Health, a four-hospital system based in Fort Myers, some seasonal workers are being called back earlier than normal to increase staffing for up to 1,400 beds by the end of July, President and CEO Larry Antonucci, MD, said July 14 during a media briefing, according to the News-Press

The system reported 307 COVID-19 patients in isolation and 95 percent capacity based on staffed operational beds on July 14. Dr. Antonucci said during his media briefing that Lee Health would hit capacity by Aug. 1 without expanding beds and staffing.

The latest information on NCH Healthcare System's website shows the Naples-based system is treating 142 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and has 120 beds available — 101 open adult beds and 19 open critical care beds. That compares to normal, typical operations, when the system has 715 total beds available with 48 of those being critical care beds. 

Amanda Lucey, an NCH spokesperson, told the News-Press the system has seen a 115 percent increase in hospitalizations over a two-week period and will be at capacity in four weeks if the trend does not stop.

To help handle the increased hospitalizations and avoid such a capacity situation, NCH is hiring workers, and 30 normal seasonal employees are returning earlier than normal, she told the newspaper. The system also plans to open units typically closed during this time of year.

Read the full News-Press report here


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