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Local hospital CEOs express concern about December peak of COVID-19

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – South Florida hospitals are preparing for the worst when it comes to a COVID-19 surge. Medical professionals on a Zoom call Friday said they plan on seeing a peak around mid- to late December.

It isn’t a surprise since we are heading into the holidays, but this is why the Centers for Disease Control is urging people to not travel this Thanksgiving.

“If we don’t act now we could potentially see another surge,” warned Tony Gomez, CEO of Jackson North Medical Center.

Chief Executive Officers and others in the medical field spoke with the Greater North Miami Beach Chamber to go over next steps on Friday.

Here are where patient numbers stand at each hospital who had a representative on the call—

  • Memorial Regional Hospital had 130 patients with COVID-19
  • Jackson North reported 124 patients with COVID-19
  • North Shore reported 99 patients with COVID-19.

“Numbers have remained relatively stable. We have not seen big spikes yet,” said Peter Powers, CEO of Memorial Regional Hospital.

The alarm bells do go off when they look at the expected positivity rates, which they said are not promising.

“We have to do everything we possibly can to slow that down,” said Gomez.

For now, two local hospital systems are awaiting the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine.

Frontline workers will be vaccinated first and then the most vulnerable populations.

“It will not be mandatory it will be voluntary, but we will be highly encouraging our frontline staff – think of emergency room workers, intensive care, those on the acute care floors,” Powers said.

The vaccine is expected to arrive in early December and then it is expected to move into phases, but the distribution has a very specific timeline as it will continue to rollout.


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