HOMESTEAD, Fla. – The Intensive Care Unit at Homestead Hospital is at capacity with mostly patients who has tested positive for COVID-19, a spokeswoman for Baptist Health South Florida confirmed to ABC News reporter Victor Oquendo.
The spokeswoman, Georgi Pipkin, said the hospital does have surge plans in place to covert 150 beds to handle the overflow, however hospital officials have chosen to transfer patients to other hospitals within the Baptist Health System.
Pipkin confirmed that the hospital is seeing much younger COVID-19 patients than earlier in the pandemic.
She said the patients typically recover at a quicker pace, but their conditions are still serious enough for them to be hospitalized.
“We were really on the decline, which was awesome,” said Dr. Carol Biggs, chief nursing officer with Jackson Health. “And about two weeks ago, we were like, ‘OK, what’s going on?’ And then last week, we’re like, ‘Woah.’”
Biggs and her colleagues are also seeing younger patients, unlike the 65-and-over group that was primarily admitted during the onset of the pandemic.
“Twenties, 30s, 40s, 50s ... definitely, and they’re a little bit sicker,” Biggs said. “The first wave, a lot of these younger folks, even though they came in and would test positive, they didn’t have to be admitted. They were able to go home and recoup. [Now] we’re seeing that we have to admit a lot more of them.”
Despite the surge, all South Florida hospitals have not yet reached capacity.
According to state data, Miami-Dade has 23.9% of its hospital beds and 26.6% of its ICU beds available as of Tuesday afternoon.
Ventilator equipment is also available.
A spokesperson says the “alternate care facility” set up at the Miami Beach Convention Center has had no patients but remains at the ready. The field hospital set up at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport has been removed.