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Surge in COVID-19 cases seen on the Suncoast

A surge in hospitalizations in light of the rise in COVID-19 cases
A surge in hospitalizations in light of the rise in COVID-19 cases(WWSB)
Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 7:51 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Latest national statistics show some area hospitals on the Suncoast are beginning to see a pinch in bed capacity.

The daily census for Sarasota Memorial Hospital shows they’re nearing bed capacity.

SMH officials tell ABC7 they have plans in place in case they need to expand capacity during public health emergencies. For example they confirmed they have already activated some of those plans for their ICU.

“I hope that it comes down but I don’t have a crystal ball,” said Dr. Manuel Gordillo in an interview last week.

Gordillo, an epidemiologist, was asked if he believes we’re at the peak of this sudden wave of COVID cases.

“We’re still in the exponential phase growth... Are we getting to the top? I hope so. Because I don’t know how much more we can sustain,” said Gordillo.

Gordillo went on to say the hospital was busting at its seams.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital statistics show they’re 25 beds away at the hospital from being at capacity and only four ICU beds are available.

ABC7 reached out to the Agency For Health Care Administration, and they no longer require hospitals to report COVID information. Their state database has not been updated since June. However, the numbers can be found in a national database of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It shows hospitals including Doctors Hospital and Manatee Memorial are low on beds. Thursday we asked all area hospitals for their bed capacity numbers and plans if they were to hit capacity.

The HHS data show SMH with 30 available ICU beds when on Thursday the hospital is reporting only four. So there are inconsistencies.

We asked officials at SMH about why the national database has different numbers and how often they are required to report to them but didn’t receive a response.

The hospitals we spoke to say there are plans if the worst-case scenario were to happen.

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