South Florida hospitals track rising coronavirus cases: ‘It is already tight'

"It is already tight," Jackson Health's CEO says, though there is capacity for many hotels to increase their staffing and capacity.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Protecting COVID-19 hospital capacity is getting harder.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that “we are very well positioned to handle what comes down the pike.”

But, statewide, hospital capacity is either wide open or tight, depending on geography.

In the state’s coronavirus capital, South Florida, the numbers trend in a concerning direction.

“If we continue at the rate we are today, there will be a very high climb, and I don’t know about not having enough beds, but it is already tight,” said Carlos Migoya, president and CEO of Jackson Health System.

Tuesday marks two weeks of slow but significant and consistent climb in hospital admissions.

Memorial Healthcare System Senior VP and Chief Medical Office Stanley Marks says “the hospitals have an ability to both staff up and surge up, in terms of new ICU beds or new beds.”

Not including that surge capacity, real-time numbers Tuesday night show South Florida hospital bed availability hovering around 20-30 percent.

The field hospital set up at the Miami Beach Convention Center in case of potential overflow has not yet had patients and remains at the ready.

“If we protect the vulnerable, we’re going to be able to get thru this patch adequately,” DeSantis said. He repeated Tuesday that there are no plans to roll back reopening measures.

Though the spiking COVID-19 cases include many younger patients, they too account for hospital admissions — and the spread that concerns those managing the medical front lines.

“We need to figure out how to slow down that infection rate that’s happening out there that’s creating the sickness that makes the people need to be hospitalized,” Migoya said.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."