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TMH reopens COVID Unit, suspends elective surgeries as Delta surges in FL

TMH visitor policy also updated
Posted at 2:13 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 15:58:42-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare announced the reopening of its COVID Unit Thursday afternoon. On Friday, the hospital's visitor policy was updated as well.

According to TMH, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased dramatically.

The isolated unit at the hospital was reopened in order to give patients the specialized care they need.

The TMH dashboard shows 26 current positive hospitalization cases, up from 20 Wednesday. There are 25 COVID patients at CRMC as of Thursday, July 22, 2021.

The COVID-19 wing can support 35 COVID-positive patients at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare with treatment from respiratory therapists to specialized equipment.

"For those individuals that are requiring higher levels of oxygen and a higher level of care, that wing offers those opportunities," said TMH Chief Clinical Officer Ryan Smith.

Smith said, for now, they have enough people staffed to manage their patient caseload, but that the surge could create new challenges.

"The hospitals across the state of Florida, even locally are busy already, and now we're juggling and handling the COVID-19 census as well which is a new subset of volume," said Smith.

They're also seeing new trends in COVID patients.

"We have seen this virus mutate and then impact now the younger populations," Smith said.

When local college student Ava Jackson learned of the wing's re-opening, she said, "It's definitely scary knowing that cases are probably going to spike in this area."

But, she has a plan. "Definitely start wearing a mask again. I know we just started getting back to normal and they just lifted the mask mandate here, but we definitely just need to keep everyone safe."

To do that, Smith said, "The greatest good at this point is vaccinations."

The hospital is also no longer accepting new inpatient elective surgery cases. All surgeries scheduled through July 30, 2021, will be honored.

The updated visitor policy in response to the rising COVID cases is as follows. The hospital said it is a temporary change.

Visitors should know:

  • Inpatients can have one visitor at a time during visiting hours, with the opportunity to rotate.
  • All visitors are still required to pass a screening and wear a mask.
  • Visiting hours remain 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with clearly defined exceptions.
  • The Dozier Atrium will remain the primary access point for most visitors, with clearly defined exceptions.

To read the full updated policy, click here.

TMH released also the following statement:

"Over the past week, COVID-19 hospitalizations at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) have dramatically increased. Unfortunately, due to this surge, TMH’s COVID Unit re-opened today, July 22. Re-opening this unit allows us to provide the best care for more COVID-positive patients in a centralized, negative-pressure unit versus individual negative-pressure rooms.

Additionally, TMH is not accepting new elective surgery cases that require an inpatient bed stay, effective today, July 22 through Friday, July 30. All pre-scheduled and outpatient procedures will continue as normal.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to be the best tool to protect people from getting COVID-19 or becoming severely ill from the virus, including reducing the risk of hospitalization and death."

ABC 27 also reached out to Capital Regional Medical Center for its plans to handle the surge and is waiting to hear back.