South Florida hospitals working to keep patients safe, have plan in place in case of virus spread

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MIAMI (WSVN) – The coronavirus’ spread has hospitals across South Florida working overtime to make sure its patients are safe and coming up with a plan if there is a continued spread of the virus in the region.

Healthcare professionals at Jackson Memorial Hospital said on Thursday that they are all working together to have a plan for whatever happens next.

Lilian Abbo, the Chief of Infection Prevention at Jackson Health System, said there are plans in place to meet each possible phase of the spread.

“First of all, you have to take this in phases,” she said. “Those plans include what happens if the entire city has COVID, and we have to take care of everyone. We will find space. We are working as a team with different hospitals across the county.”

Across Florida, there are about 64,000 hospital beds while there are 21 million people living in the state.

Joshua Lenchus, the Chief Medical Officer of Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, said most of those infected will have flu-like symptoms and recover at home.

“First of all, the likelihood of 64,000 people will need treatment all at the same time is incredibly small,” Lenchus said. “The patients that truly need to come to the hospital, we have the preparations to take care of those people and capacity in the event that there is a surge we, like other hospitals, have developed plans to account for that.”

Health officials said the medical community is preparing as if there is a hurricane looming off the coast in case Florida takes a widespread hit from the coronavirus.

Protecting the people on the front lines of the battle is also a top priority. Should large numbers become infected, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said there is a plan for that, as well.

“The Department of Emergency Management in Florida has secured contracts for nurses to be brought in, in the case there’s personnel shortage,” DeSantis said.

Hospitals have also set up screening checkpoints, such as one found at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Miami.

Jackson Health System said they are getting important information from visitors and asking about symptoms and travel. Jackson has dedicated clinical staff specifically for treating patients who may have COVID-19, and they are equipped with protective gear.

“As we all know from hurricane season, it’s important to have strong plans and also be flexible enough to each unique situation,” Jackson Health System President and CEO Carlos Migoya said. “That’s how we’re approaching this situation. The community should feel confident that they can count on us.”

The precautions are just a few steps in one of many large multifaced plans in the works in healthcare facilities across the state.

Those in the medical field said while they do have plans for a worst case scenario, they are reminding the public to do everything they can in terms of prevention, so it never gets to that point.

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