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Memorial Health Care System Suspends Elective Procedures Because Of Surging COVID Cases

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The Memorial Healthcare System says that amid concerns about surging coronavirus cases, it is suspending elective procedures and surgeries starting Monday at its 6 hospitals.

Dr. Marc Napp, the Chief Medical Officer in the Memorial Healthcare System, told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "We are seeing a surge that we have not seen before. We have more patients than we have had before. The numbers are unprecedented. So the idea is to redirect services."

Napp said "We had higher numbers last summer but we expect to surpass those. We have 537 patients with the Coronavirus out of our 1600 patients."

That means that a third of the patients in the Memorial Healthcare system have the Coronavirus.

"In order to provide more access, we are opening up more than 250 beds," he said.

"This is doing a number on our staff. We are having trouble getting staff and paying a premium for people to come. We are also seeing a great deal of camaraderie among the staff that we have. But this has been exhausting for our staff," he added.

He said, "There is no quick fix. Ninety-six to 97 percent of our patients with COVID are unvaccinated."

He said there is "an increased demand for oxygen," he said, adding that supplies right now were adequate.

"We are asking people to wear masks and social distance," he said.

Chief Executive Officers at hospitals from around the state were involved in a roundtable discussion Wednesday morning with Governor Ron DeSantis. Their consensus was that people should get vaccinated.

CEOS from South Florida said that hospitalizations were at a manageable level here but the situation is worse in the northern part of the state.

Jackson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya says the peak of the crisis could be approaching.

"We are seeing one to three weeks but who knows what will happen," he said. "We are preparing for the worst. We are seeing a lot of young people and we are seeing a lot less co-morbidities. Our ICU numbers were running last summer at 40 percent. Now they are 25 percent with inpatients in our ICUs. Are they going to get less sick. We don't know. We may know in the next 10 days."

"We are looking at maybe reducing some electives and we have stopped visitations to make sure we don't spread it," he said. "I think with Miami-Dade County approaching 78 percent of the people vaccinated (with at least one dose), that helps reduce the number of infections. The mortality rate this summer is nowhere close to what it was last summer. It is dramatically less."

Migoya is also facing a staffing problem.

"We are seeing a lot of nurses taking temporary jobs and going around the country getting 2 or 3 times what they are getting paid. It is a challenge dealing it's this. We are bringing in more people to work from nursing schools."

Shane Strum, the CEO of Broward Health, said "We have set up additional rooms and bays to go to right away. The best results we see are when those who test positive come to us right away."

On Tuesday, Governor DeSantis said he expected hospitalizations to drop in the next few weeks.

According to the state, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida now involves 12,408 inpatient beds.

According to the CDC, in Miami-Dade, 75.6% of the population has received one dose of the vaccine, and 61.6% are fully vaccinated.

The CDC says in Broward, 63.4% of the population has received one dose and 51.9% are fully vaccinated.

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