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Hospitals in Leon County prepared for possible influx in COVID-19 patients

Posted at 6:01 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 10:52:49-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County has close to 1,000 hospital and ICU beds combined,but only a fraction of that number is actually available, leaving many wondering just how many beds are filled with COVID-19 patients.

About 20 percent of the hospital beds in Leon County are available.

For the ICU, that number drops down to eight percent, but medical workers say that doesn't necessarily mean it's all COVID-19 related.

According to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration, there are 897 hospital beds in Leon County. Of those, 72 are ICU adult beds and six are ICU pediatric beds.

A closer look at the numbers shows most of those beds are currently in use.

There are 487 hospital beds and 46 adult ICU beds at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. As of Wednesday afternoon, 84 hospital beds at TMH are available, and every adult ICU bed is currently in use.

Despite the data, TMH said that before COVID-19 became prevalent, it was not uncommon for their ICU o run at 95% capacity. They say the AHCA report represents a snapshot in time and doesn’t accurately reflect their capacity to care for COVID-19 patients.

"At TMH, we have set up a separate 36-bed unit dedicated to the care of COVID-19 patients. That unit has a current census of 28. In the event of a further surge, we have identified and are able to utilize many different areas in the hospital," officials wrote in a statement sent to ABC 27.

At Capital Regional Medical Center, 36 of its 270 hospital beds are open and of the 20 ICU beds, six are available.

It's unclear if the patients at CRMC occupying those beds are stricken with the coronavirus.

Florida's COVID-19 data dashboard says 60 people are hospitalized with the virus, but not if they're in the ICU.

The site is also not tracking when people recover or are released from the hospital.

When pressed for a clearer indication of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at the Tuesday press conference, Governor Ron DeSantis said, "all the data that goes into this is all available."

Rosa Flores, a reporter with CNN in attendance at Tuesday's press conference, said to the governor that the spreadsheet on that data is not available.

CRMC, easing some of the concern, said in a statement to ABC 27:

"Over the last few weeks, the majority of our ICU patients have been admitted for health concerns unrelated to COVID-19."

The statement also mentions months of preparation has the hospital equipped to handle an influx of patients.

That message was mirrored by Leon County commission chairman Brian Desloge.

"I give the hospitals in this community credit," said Desloge. "Early on, they rattled the chains and sounded the bells and said, 'This is serious. We need to get in front of this.'"

There are three other facilities providing support care with 140 beds, and an additional six ICU bed available.