LAKELAND, Fla (WFLA) – Lakeland Regional Health is seeing an overwhelming increase in the number of positive COVID-19 patients.

Right now, LRH is seeing nearly 400 patients positive for the coronavirus.

“We are stretched by the sheer volume of patients and unfortunately the severe illness of the patients,” said Chief Operating Officer at Lakeland Regional Health, Terry Hamilton.

Hamilton tells 8 On Your Side Lakeland Regional Health is very close to capacity, as they continue to see the number of patients increase.

“We are using all of our traditional hospital rooms and we are using other areas of the hospital that we have redeployed to take care of patients,” added Hamilton.

But it’s not just the hospital, the increase in patients is also putting a strain on Polk County Fire Rescue EMS services. Fire Chief Rob Weech telling the Polk County Commissioners they are critically stretched.

“280 calls is our typical average and we are averaging 340 and there are times our system has 400 calls in a day. I do not say that lightly, that’s a tremendous amount of additional calls that are in our system,” said Chief Rob Weech in Tuesday’s County Commission meeting.

Chief Weech told commissioners they are also seeing an increase in bed transfer times.

“We have increased bed transfer times across all of our hospital systems and that’s indicative of their bed space that they are  going through,” added Chief Weech during Tuesday’s County Commission meeting.

Polk County Fire Chief is urging residents to only call 911 if it is a true emergency.

Hamilton is encouraging the community to get vaccinated, continue wearing a mask and social distance.