New hospital in Venice and new oncology tower help Sarasota Memorial manage omicron surge

·3 min read
The opening of the 110-bed Sarasota Memorial Hospital Venice Campus has given the hospital flexibility as it manages the COVID-19 Omicron surge.
The opening of the 110-bed Sarasota Memorial Hospital Venice Campus has given the hospital flexibility as it manages the COVID-19 Omicron surge.

SARASOTA COUNTY – The opening in November of both the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Venice Campus and the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute tower on the hospital’s Sarasota campus has helped the public hospital maintain the ability to handle elective surgeries while treating a surge in admissions from the COVID-19 omicron wave.

In past coronavirus surges, the health system had to scale back non-emergency or elective procedures to preserve space in its intensive care unit.

Not as many COVID patients are being admitted to the ICU during the omicron wave, which has also helped.

"That said, because we are a major referral center, it is not unusual for our ICUs to remain at or near 100% capacity," Sarasota Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Kim Savage said on Monday. "Approximately 70% of patients in our ICU today do not have COVID – they are recovering from surgery or other illnesses or injuries."

A typical prep and recovery room on the Venice campus of Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The opening of the new hospital has given SMH flexibility in handling the COVID-19 Omicron surge.
A typical prep and recovery room on the Venice campus of Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The opening of the new hospital has given SMH flexibility in handling the COVID-19 Omicron surge.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 787 total patients at the Sarasota campus – with 176 who tested positive for COVID-19, and 22 of those in the ICU.

Meanwhile there were 129 total patients at the Venice campus – with 27 who tested positive for COVID-19 and five in the ICU.

The total of 203 COVID patients Tuesday marked yet another decrease from Monday, when it was treating 222 patients.

“It looks like the cases of COVID are leveling off and we're hoping to see, by the end of the month, hospitalizations declining,” Savage said Tuesday.

Earlier: New oncology tower opens at Sarasota Memorial Hospital

An intensive care unit room on the Venice campus of Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The opening of the new hospital has given SMH flexibility in handling the COVID-19 Omicron surge.
An intensive care unit room on the Venice campus of Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The opening of the new hospital has given SMH flexibility in handling the COVID-19 Omicron surge.

The addition of the oncology tower and its 56 new private rooms increased overall capacity at the Sarasota campus from 839 to 895 beds; while the addition of the 110-bed Venice campus boosted Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s overall capacity to 1,005 beds.

Savage noted in an email that while 22% of the patients admitted across the two hospitals are COVID patients, the added capacity and the fact that many patients “do not need the level of ICU and ventilator care required in past surges, we have been able to take care of the current surge of COVID patients within normal operations.”

Related: Sarasota Memorial Hospital Venice campus fulfills artistic vision

The addition of the 56-bed Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute tower to the Sarasota campus of Sarasota Memorial Hospital has increased the overall bed capacity at that location from 839 beds to 895 beds.
The addition of the 56-bed Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute tower to the Sarasota campus of Sarasota Memorial Hospital has increased the overall bed capacity at that location from 839 beds to 895 beds.

The opening of the Venice campus in general has helped free up space at the Sarasota campus, Savage noted.

About 75 patients who would otherwise have sought care in Sarasota are now being treated at the Venice campus, Savage said.

The remaining patients are believed to have opted for the Venice campus over previous medical facilities.

While the Venice campus has 110 beds, it also has 27 pre- and post-operative care beds, some of which are currently being used as medical/surgical overflow units, to handle the current volume of patients.

The Venice hospital also has a 22-bed ICU, which could be expanded if needed.

The Sarasota campus ICU was recently expanded from 62 to 72 beds, so COVID-19 patients can be isolated from other patients in the ICU.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Sarasota Memorial Hospital manages omicron surge because of new facilities

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