Sarasota Memorial Hospital sees highest number of COVID-19 patients since start of pandemic


SARASOTA COUNTY (WFLA) – Doctors at Sarasota Memorial Hospital have been treating COVID-19 patients since early March. Since then, the hospital has gone through ups and downs in the number of coronavirus patients it had in its facilities.

The number of patients with the virus jumped from nine on June 4 to 45 on June 30, surpassing the previous peak of 43 in May.

As of this Thursday, 56 patients at the hospital were being treated for COVID-19; 16 of those patients are in the intensive care unit. That is the highest number of COVID-19 positive patients in SMH since the start of the outbreak.

The numbers this week are drastically different from about six weeks ago, when the hospital’s ICU was empty for the first time since the start of the pandemic and hospitalizations were at a low.

“In May, we thought we had a great story going. Our COVID census had dropped all the way down to eight patients and zero patients in the ICU for a couple of days,” said hospital CEO David Verinder. “We were all very quietly celebrating here and happy about that, but we were also preparing for a second wave in case it happened. Unfortunately, we have seen our census go the other way,” he continued.

Verinder describes the upward trend as ‘troubling’.

“We have seen our census double in the past week and a half. We keep seeing record number of cases in the state of Florida come around and it is concerning for hospitals, but it ought to be concerning for every citizen in this state,” said Verinder.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital has contingency plans in place in case positive cases continue to climb.

“We have a number of contingency plans on the table if we have more patients come in, if we double our COVID-19 patients again. “We certainly hope that’s not going to be the case, but we have plenty of ventilators on site, we have ICU rooms. We can increase our ICUs from 60 to over 100. We have those plans in place. They have been coordinated with our medical staff and our nursing staff,” said Verinder.


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