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ICU beds filling up but local hospital officials say no one will be turned away

Contingency plans in place if situation in ICUs surge, administrators say

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – If you go by the Agency for Health Care Administration’s site website, there is a lack of beds in intensive care units in Miami-Dade and Broward county since the latest surge of coronavirus cases with some patients requiring hospitalization.

But hospital administrators want to set the record straight, saying that the Agency for Health Care Administration’s site doesn’t reflect what’s really going on in hospitals.

There is only 1 bed available at Memorial West in Pembroke Pines? Sounds scary, but Memorial West said there will always be a bed at the hospital to care for patients.

“Memorial does not, or have we ever, rejected a patient due to lack of beds. And, we do not anticipate doing so, despite the surge of COVID-19 positive cases,” according to a statement from Memorial West.

“We have canceled elective procedures to increase available beds and are redeploying some staff to high priority areas. We are also contracting travel healthcare professionals — all in effort to help meet the demand,” according to the statement.

The state’s website lists 54 ICU beds available In all of Broward, a county of over 1.9 million people. In Miami-Dade County — 114 beds in the intensive care for a population of 2.7 million people.

The website may reflect what the numbers are, but what it doesn’t say is what hospitals have in place to deal with the surge, such as converting other rooms into areas to care for overflow of COVID-19 patients.

According to the agency’s website, Broward Health has only 6 ICU beds.

Here, too, administrators say they have plenty of room.

“Approximately 17% of our COVID-related hospitalizations are currently requiring ICU care. Our caregivers continue to closely monitor patient needs, and we have surge plans in place should we need to activate additional bed capacity,” said Jennifer Smith, APR, AVP, Corporate Communications at Broward Health.

Hospitals that Local 10 spoke to said they are prepared to covert classrooms and auditoriums to be re-fitted as ICUs if the need arises.

They said they are not yet at that point and hopefully will never be.


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