ORLANDO, Fla. — The peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida will be “sometime in front of us in July,” AdventHealth’s president and CEO said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation.
Terry Shaw said that his projection is assuming that people practice social distancing and wear masks to slow the spread of the virus.
His remarks come as Florida on Sunday reported 15,300 new COVID-19 cases, once again shattering its record for a single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began and for the first time breaking a national one-day record, according to The New York Times. The statewide total, including nonresidents, is now 269,811.
Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, also on Face the Nation, said, “Things are going to get worse before they get better” and that some models show that there’s “possibly going to be a peak in the next two or three weeks.”
As cases continue to skyrocket, Disney this weekend reopened some of its parks and the NBA is preparing to resume televising games later this month from the resort. The organizations have safety measures in place. AdventHealth, for instance, has been advising Disney in how to reopen safely and is providing staff to do temperature checks.
“As a health-care provider, my job is to help people do things safety,” Shaw said. “I will tell you, based upon the way Disney is approaching this with limiting people in doing all the screenings that they’re doing, I personally am a Disney season ticket holder, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go to Disney as a health-care CEO based on the fact that they’re working extremely hard to keep people safe.”
He told Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan that the health system, which has hospitals in nine states, including 30 in Florida, has adequate personal protective equipment, a stockpile of ventilators and a clinical team that’s learned how to better treat the disease.
“I give you an example. Our length of stay in our ICU for COVID patients has dropped in half. The number of people coming in to our hospital with COVID that need a ventilator, we’ve also been able to cut that in half. And because of those things, our death rate has also been cut in half [since the beginning of the pandemic],” he said
The health system’s ICU capacities in Florida are currently running at about 85% to 90%, “but we have the ability to turn some of our progressive care units into ICU units if we need to do so,” Shaw said.
As of 1 p.m. Sunday, 7,510 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Florida, more than 300 higher than Saturday.
According to the state dashboard, about 25% of ICU beds and 22% of general hospital beds in Central Florida were available as of Sunday morning.
In Arizona and Texas, two major hot spots of the pandemic, there are reports of morgues close to being overwhelmed. Shaw said that even though “it’s a very stressful time” in Florida, “we’re not at that point.”
More than 4,200 Floridians have died due to COVID-19 infection since the beginning of the pandemic.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a recent press conference that hospitals have been getting an additional supply of antiviral drug remdesivir, which has shown promise in treating COVID-19 patients.
The AdventHealth system received a new shipment of the drug this weekend and is supposed to get another shipment this week, Shaw said.
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