AdventHealth physicians discuss decline in COVID-19 cases and why heart health is particularly important in the wake of the pandemic
ORLANDO Feb. 18, 2021 – AdventHealth saw another decrease in COVID-19 patients this week, the latest signal that the hospital system can resume more elective procedures as it transitions back to “green” status, Dr. Neil Finkler, chief medical officer of acute care services for the Central Florida Division, said at the AdventHealth Morning Briefing.
“We’ve continued to see a decline in our COVID hospitalized patients,” Finkler said. “All the numbers are pointing in the right direction.”
The hospital system’s Central Florida Division tallied about 500 patients with the coronavirus Thursday morning, down from a peak in mid-January of more than 800.
The move to “green” status, Finkler said, is determined by an algorithm that accounts for the number of patients, staffing and other factors like the supply of personal protective equipment such as masks. The move to “green” means there are no restrictions on elective procedures as staffing and equipment are adequate.
“What we are saying is we are functioning as a normal facility,” Finkler said. “We are all systems go.”
Finkler was joined by Dr. Kevin Accola, cardiac thoracic surgeon, who discussed how much is still unknown about COVID-19’s effects on the heart.
“COVID-19 is an inflammatory process,” Accola said. “We don’t know for sure what the long-term implications could be … Could this cause mild carditis or inflammation of the muscle? That remains to be seen.”
Accola noted February is American Heart Month and a good time for people to reset and assess their heart health. The global pandemic caused a drop in people seeking treatment for cardiac symptoms, but heart disease remains a top health concern in the United States.
Accola urged people to follow a balanced heart-healthy diet such as a Mediterranean diet heavy on fresh vegetables and fruits.
Both physicians recommended people get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.
You can sign up for alerts to learn when more appointments are available at www.CoronavirusVaccineAlerts.com. Vaccines are not currently available at any AdventHealth hospital, AdventHealth Centra Care or AdventHealth Medical Group office.