Miami-Dade Hospitals Brace For COVID Patients — Again

Miami-Dade County health professionals hope to get ahead of a possible influx of patients, with the public health system cancelling elective surgeries.

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For those who thought April was the cruelest month, the head of Miami-Dade's public hospital system says July could be bad, as well.

"If we listen to our experts, we think that the month of July will be hot in this pandemic, and not just in temperature," Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Heath, told the board of county commissioners.

He then announced elective surgeries would be banned effective next week, to make room for what could be additional COVID-19 patients.

The number of COVID-positive inpatients Wednesday reached a record 299, triple what it was at the beginning of June.

"We continue to build plans," Migoya said. "But the one plan we don't have is for, if trends continue the way they are, we will be inundated and we can't afford to do that."

Jackson's move came as state said new cases and the prevalence of the virus among those tested appear to be leveling off -- though at very high levels.

The state is finding about 7,000 new cases a day over the last week -- a record high, while the positivity rate for all tests reported over the last week also stands at a record of 14.5 percent

Also reaching new highs: the number of COVID-positive patients in all Miami-Dade hospitals (1,298) and the new COVID-patient admissions over the last 24 hours (169).

It all has county mayor Carlos Gimenez talking about the possibility of something he is loathe to do: reinstating restrictions.

"I'm hesitant to start to close," Gimenez told commissioners Wednesday morning. "That’s really not somewhere I want to go. I think that would be devastating to a lot of people, the economy, but the economy also means the livelihood of people."

He and the Jackson health professionals all urged the public to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing.

"We do need help from everyone," said Jackson Dr. Lilian Abbo, "because if our workforce is exhausted or ends up sick, we’re not going to be able to take care of you. So the responsibility is on everybody."

As the usually bustling July 4th holiday approaches, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Floridians were better off in parks and beaches than inside their homes.

"You know, doing things outdoors in Florida is less risky than doing things where you’re packed indoors," he said during an appearance in Volusia County. "For the Fourth of July, I’m more concerned about people crowding into the ac and having private parties and things like that."

Dr. Abbo traces the latest resurgence of the virus in Miami-Dade to the relaxation of restrictions and people not follwiong medical advice about distancing and maks.

"As the city started to reopen, we started opening our doors and going back to normal," Abbo said. "And we're seeing the curve going up very fast and it's not only going up, it's going up too fast."

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