Number of local hospital beds already dwindling from new surge of COVID-19 patients

MIAMI, Fla. – Hospitals in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties are gearing up for another wave of COVID-19 patients and some are already putting surge plans into place to extend bed capacity.

For the third consecutive day, Broward County set a single day record with 1,664 new cases, continuing a surge in numbers. Miami-Dade’s increases were 2,282, a day after marking a new county high with 2,418 new cases.

Jackson Health System president and chief executive officer Carlos A. Migoya said that there has already been a significant increase in COVID-19 cases at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. While most hospitals are not at capacity, places like Jackson Memorial Hospital, are slowing down elective procedures to focus on urgent surgeries and to help keep the dwindling bed spaces open.

A woman told Local 10 that she learned about that first hand when she called Memorial Hospital Pembroke on Sunday morning about getting her husband to the hospital. The 65-year-old man has a pre-existing heart condition and he was experiencing shortness of breath and had a fever.

“They refused to admit him,” she said. And when she asked why, they told her that in order for him to be admitted, his symptoms would have to be worse, she said.

The state tracks its hospital space by county and by facility, which can be seen here.

Hospital capacity as of July 5, 2020 (WPLG)

“We still got a long way to go,” Migoya told Local 10′s “This Week In South Florida.” ”So it gives us a little bit of time here to make sure that we shift and reduce some of those other patients to make room for the COVID patients.”

Migoya said he feels comfortable that he has enough beds and staffing to be able to deal with the surge, while issuing a warning that it can’t last forever.

“If that trend were to continue for a longer period of time, it is not sustainable.”

(See the interview below)

Joining This Week in South Florida to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is Jackson Health System President and CEO Carlos Migoya.

Efforts are being made to help slow the spread of the new spike in coronavirus cases locally like closing beaches this past Fourth of July holiday to keep crowds from gathering and requiring face masks be worn in public.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said getting everyone on board to wear one is a different challenge.

“We’re not on the same page. There isn’t unity in our community or any community right now and I feel like that’s the greatest challenge.  If people listened and did what makes sense and what was healthy, we would get through this much better,” said Gelber.

Gov. Ron DeSantis did not hold a public media briefing Sunday, but he did take several phone calls, including speaking with Vice President Mike Pence and Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez about the concern over the spike in cases.

Currently, Florida makes up 20 percent of all coronavirus cases in the United States.

[RELATED: Check local updates with a city-by-city numbers list of coronavirus cases in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.]

About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local