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Florida Peaking? Hospitalizations, Daily Case Counts Trending Down

Florida Peaking? Hospitalizations, Daily Case Counts Trending Down

By Abe Aboraya, WMFE

Daily case counts and hospitalizations from COVID-19 are starting to trend downward in Florida.

Florida added 11,615 new cases Wednesday, and has averaged 11,934 new COVID cases per day, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University analyzed by NPR. That’s a 20 percent drop from a week ago.

Dr. Amesh Adaljah, the senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the next few weeks will be rough with thousands of deaths occurring.

“We saw a lot of intensity of spread related to Thanksgiving, and Christmas and New Years,” Adaljah said. “We didn’t get the worst of it. But it was enough to make hospitals, especially in places like southern California, really worry about their viability. They were running out of things like hospital beds, ambulances were being diverted, there were hospitals worried about being able to pump enough oxygen through their pipes to get to all the patients.”

Additionally, the number of Floridians hospitalized with has dropped about 5 percent in the last week. Currently, 7,135 people are hospitalized statewide with a COVID-19 diagnosis.

“It was almost a weeping moment, hallelujah when the numbers started to decline,” said Justin Senior, CEO of the Florida Safety Net Hospital of Florida.

The number of hospitals statewide with zero open intensive care unit beds is also down statewide to 49. But there are still hospitals without open ICU beds in Marion, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties.

Senior, the former head of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, said a smaller percentage of people are being hospitalized from COVID-19 during this surge. During the summer surge, 10,000 people were hospitalized at once across Florida with COVID-19.

“Deaths don’t necessarily follow infections, but they do follow hospitalizations very closely, so you want to keep your hospital census down,” Senior said.

UK Study: 45% Of Covid ICU Workers Meet Threshold For PTSD, Severe Anxiety, Problem Drinking

By Abe Aboraya, WMFE

A United Kingdom study of health care workers in COVID-19 intensive care units is showing alarming rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety and problem drinking.

A study in the Journal of Occupational Medicine surveyed more than 700 workers in COVID-19 ICUs over the summer. In total, 45 percent met the criteria for PTSD, severe anxiety or problem drinking.

Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida CEO Justin Senior said his group is worried about the impact of PTSD causing a nursing shortage in the future.

“I think the PTSD, the post-traumatic stress disorder thing, I think that’s gonna be real,” Senior said. “Seeing people on ventilators, seeing people proned, all of the donning and doffing.”

Senior said his organization has contracted with a group to study what the longterm impact of COVID-19 will be on hospital staffing. He said the biggest issue for hospitals in Florida isn’t equipment or rooms, it’s staffing.

In the short term, hospitals are having to increase salaries because travel nurses are doubling their pay by working in New York and California.

“Our people started to lose nurses, not from them retiring, but they had to start to compete price wise to try to keep them available rather than quitting and going to California and New York because they were doubling their salaries,” Senior said.

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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »