Local hospitals make changes after spike in number of COVID-19 patients

Coronavirus

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Some local hospitals are stopping elective surgeries and limiting visitors again after seeing a spike in the number of COVID-19 patients over the past month.

“This virus is circulating amongst the community in many parts of our state,” Florida Governor Ron Desantis said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Since mid-June, nearly every day, there’s been an increase in the number of people hospitalized with the virus. There are 196 COVID-19 patients at the three hospitals in Pensacola but one month ago, there were only 17.

Most of the current positive cases in Escambia County are those between the age of 15 and 34 which is a trend we’re seeing statewide, according to Gov. Desantis.

“A lot of the young people have gotten it but it has spread to some of the older population and I think part of that is family gatherings, friends, things like that… in multi-generational households,” Desantis said.

Some hospitals are again postponing elective surgeries including West Florida Hospital, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital.

Baptist Health Care and Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola are limiting their visitors again.

“What happens if you have a heart condition or you have cancer or something else you need… You can’t get in there because the beds are so full with other COVID patients,” Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said.

Mayor Robinson is still pushing for wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing which he says is the key to keeping more hospital beds free.

“You wearing a mask potentially saves a hospital space that you personally may need one day,” Mayor Robinson said.

In Escambia County, there are just 10 ICU beds available and 376 total beds available, but any bed can be transitioned into a COVID-19 bed. There are 69 of the 148 ventilators in the county currently being used.

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