ORLANDO, Fla. — Central Florida doctors are concerned hospitals may not have enough equipment or supplies to handle coronavirus cases when they peak in our area.
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While doctors and health care systems across the region say their resources are in good standing at this point, if coronavirus cases continue to rise, that’s when demand could overtake their supply.
“We are not at capacity yet, so we do have enough resources for now, but we are anticipating a greater need in the future," said Dr. Summeet Bhavsar, who specializes in hospital medicine and internal medicine. He is a physician working on the frontlines at several hospitals throughout the Orlando area.
“We don’t send our soldiers out to fight a war without adequate equipment or adequate weapons, so why do we expect our health care professionals to do the same?” Bhavsar said.
The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration dashboard shows there are more than 1,100 ICU beds at hospitals in Central Florida.
As of noon on Tuesday there were over 460, or 40 percent of ICU beds still available.
Table created on the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration dashboard.
Research from the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation, based in Seattle, Washington, project at peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in Florida there is a predicted ICU bed shortage, and a need for over 2,000 ventilators when cases peak.
We reached out to health care systems across Central Florida. AdventHealth, OrlandoHealth, and Halifax Health all say their teams have the adequate supply of Personal Protective Equipment, and have plans in place for offsite locations to accommodate overflows if necessary.
Dr. Sajid Chaudhary specializes in infectious diseases, and he says any extra stock or reserve equipment will be greatly needed in the coming weeks.
“We anticipate that as we move on, as we get more and more cases, we may end up depleting our supply,” Chaudhary said.
While most Central Florida health care systems have requested more supplies from the state, doctors like Sumeet Bhavsar hope those resources are enough to help save lives.
“We are really risking our lives by not having adequate PPE when going to examine these patients and not only putting ourselves at risk but putting our patients at risk by doing this.”
He adds having hazmat suits would help minimize risk for patients and healthcare professionals.
The Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation predicts Florida’s peak will come on April 21, but that is still a moving target.