Jackson Health System is pausing non-emergency and elective surgeries and will be moving some patients to a COVID-only facility as the South Florida hospital system continues to see an increase in coronavirus patients, officials said.
In a statement Wednesday, Jackson Health System said it will begin limiting inpatient surgeries and procedures to emergency and urgent cases only due to the "steady increase" in COVID-19 patients.
"Our clinical leadership has been working diligently throughout this pandemic to ensure that safety of our patients and employees is paramount," the statement read.
With the latest figures from the Florida Department of Health, Miami-Dade had 37,961 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,000 virus-related deaths.
Speaking with Miami-Dade County commissioners Wednesday, Jackson Health CEO Carlos Migoya said COVID patients and ICU usage has doubled over the past two weeks at the hospital system, one of the largest in the state, as cases have continued to increase in the county.
Jackson Health oversees the largest hospital in Miami with about 1,200 regular beds and 200 intensive care unit beds.
“The one plan we don’t have for is if the trends continue, we will be inundated and we can’t afford to do that," Migoya said. "We have enough nurses to cover the 1350 census. We could go maybe to 1400. Anything north of that, becomes scary.”
In Miami-Dade, about 19% of ICU beds are still available. That number falls to about 12% in some of Jackson Health’s hospitals, officials said.
Migoya said about one third of patients testing positive for COVID-19 have arrived at the hospitals for other emergencies.
Other South Florida hospital systems made similar announcements Wednesday. Officials from Baptist Health also said that they are re-evaluating procedures that require an overnight stay on a case-by-case basis, and said same-day surgeries are still taking place.
Memorial Healthcare System announced their hospitals will only perform emergency or urgent surgeries, as well as outpatient procedures that do not require hospitalization. The limitation in surgeries does not include Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had suspended all non-essential medical procedures back on March 20, but they were allowed to resume on May 1.
Meanwhile, the former Pan American Hospital building in Miami-Dade was reopening Wednesday as a 120-bed facility to treat only coronavirus patients. About 90 patients were expected to be moved there in the coming days with about 30 coming from Jackson Health.