South Florida Doctors, Nurses Prepare for Possible Wave of COVID Cases Amid Reopenings

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Amid the debate over the pace of the state's reopenings, some doctors and nurses in South Florida are preparing for a possible increase in the number of coronavirus cases that could lead to another wave of patients at hospitals.

Lotta Siegel, a veteran nurse at Memorial Regional West, caught the virus from her son after he attended a birthday party. She said she's worried about the shift in attitudes toward COVID-19.

"I saw pictures from South Beach this last past weekend of people close up not wearing a mask, not taking the minimum precautions, you know, being very close up to each other," Siegel said. 'I know people are frustrated and they want to be able to go out and have their lives back, and I know we all need that, and we all want that, but we have take the precautions.”

Equally troubling, Siegel said, is the upcoming flu season and the moment the two viruses meet and people begin to show up at hospitals.

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"We don’t know what those patients will present with that may have tested positive for the simple flu, Flu A, and then getting in contact with someone with COVID. We don’t know what that picture will look like," Siegel said.

At an event in Clearwater Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dismissed the concerns that the state is moving too fast, after he signed an order moving the state to Phase 3 reopening on Friday.

He reiterated that the state will not close again.

"I really believe you can do things safely, and telling people 'no, you can’t earn a living,' is I don’t think something we want to do," DeSantis said.

Hospitals across South Florida have stockpiled personal protective equipment in anticipation of a fall surge that some fear could end up coming a lot earlier.

"We have been in this for seven months, we know what our burn rate of PPE is going to be based on numbers, we have predictive analytics that will show us that," said Maggie Hansen, chief nurse executive for Memorial Health.

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