The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized across AdventHealth’s Central Florida hospitals declined this week to about 1,330, a level that allowed the health care system to move from Black Status to Red Status this week, but one that continues to remain higher than earlier surges.
“We are optimistic in that we feel that number is going to continue to go down, but it’s important to understand our hospitals and ICUs continue to be at very tight capacity,” said Dr. Victor Herrera, chief medical officer at AdventHealth Orlando on today’s AdventHealth Morning Briefing. “It’s going to be some time before we really feel that relief.”
After about four weeks in Black Status, which meant deferring non-urgent surgeries and procedures, AdventHealth moved to Red Status to accommodate more surgeries that could become more urgent as time goes on.
Herrera said the system is still a ways from returning to normal operations, but positive signs such as a significant decrease in the COVID positivity rate at Centra Care, AdventHealth’s urgent care clinics, are steps in the right direction.
Capacity in the ICUs remains a challenge, he said, with the number of patients requiring that level of care not declining at the same rate as overall COVID patients.
During this surge, he said, patients are requiring longer ICU stays and AdventHealth Orlando has expanded its capacity by creating ICU beds in other parts of the hospital.
He noted that more than 11,000 COVID patients have recovered and been discharged from AdventHealth’s Central Florida hospitals this year.
“It’s really an incredible number,” Herrera, an infectious disease specialist, said. “I know that we have saved many lives and our therapies, our treatments have proven to be very effective.”
He said a huge difference remains between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients with most critically-ill patients continuing to be unvaccinated.
“During my career, I have never seen a vaccine that is more effective than the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.