BayCare pauses all elective surgeries in 3 Tampa Bay counties

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – BayCare announced Thursday it will pause elective surgeries and procedures at all of its hospitals in Pinellas, Pasco, and Polk counties, regardless of whether they require an overnight stay, starting Saturday.

A BayCare spokesperson said this decision will help save resources for the urgent and emergent needs of severely ill patients.

Earlier this month, BayCare paused all elective surgeries in its Hillsborough County hospitals.

“COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased 10-fold since the beginning of July, and today we have more than 1,000 COVID positive patients in our 14 acute care hospitals across the Tampa Bay area,” said Glenn Waters, the chief operating officer for BayCare. “We’re making these operational adjustments to be sure we can continue providing safe, high-quality care to the recent influx of COVID patients in addition to hundreds of other people in our hospitals with unrelated, serious medical issues.”

Elective procedures are those that can be delayed without danger to the patient. BayCare has a clinical review process to consider requests by patients or doctors who receive a cancellation notice but believe the procedure is medically necessary and should proceed.

“We deeply regret the impact this can make on many people,” Waters said. “We will continue to evaluate the situation and determine at a later date when we can reschedule these appointments.”

In recent weeks, BayCare hospitals have seen a rapid increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to the spread of the delta variant. The vast majority of these patients were not vaccinated against COVID-19. 

8 On Your Side asked Waters if BayCare has hit its peak for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 yet.

“I don’t see anything telling me we have because each day we continue to see the number of COVID patients increase,” he said. “Normally this time of year we start to see our census fall off because snowbirds go back home and typically we are slower in the summer than the winter.”

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