DeSantis aims to calm ICU capacity fears with coronavirus round table

Coronavirus

TALLAHASSEE (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis led a coronavirus round table discussion from Tallahassee Tuesday afternoon.

The discussion was centered around hospital capacity around the state, with DeSantis calling the reports of limited hospital, ICU beds “not really accurate.”

The governor provided the following update on hospital capacity:

  • 24% of hospital beds (14,000) are empty
  • 20% of ICU beds (Over 1,000) are empty

DeSantis called on Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew, Hospital Association’s Chrystal Sickle, and two physicians with Advent Health to participate in the round table.

“Taken together, the two groups represent over 70% of the hospitals in the state of Florida and I think can provide some great insight of what is happening on the ground.”

DeSantis said he wanted to address reports that the state is running out of ICU beds.

“We have a lot of rural communities with hospitals that have zero ICU capacities, under any circumstances, they just don’t have them,” he said. “If there’s a need for that level of care, then the patients are sent to areas that are a little bit more populated that have that.”

DeSantis also noted that there are a number of Florida hospitals, like Advent Health, that are part of a larger system of hospitals. While there may only be a few ICU beds in a particular hospital, more beds within the same hospital system may be available in an neighboring town.

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration created a website where the public can track available hospital and ICU beds around the state. As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, there are 9,439 people hospitalized throughout the state with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19.

DeSantis said he doesn’t want reports of low ICU capacity in certain regions to deter patients from treating non-coronavirus-related conditions.

“The message is: Don’t sit on those symptoms, because you could end up, a couple months down the road, in a more serious state, and that’s not good for anybody,” DeSantis said. “Make sure people know it’s safe to go in, get the care you need, and that anxiety over going in is not our friend, and we want people to get the care that they need.”

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