COVID-19 cases are rising after thousands of spring breakers were seen throughout South Florida. Medical staff at Memorial Regional Hospital say they’re not at capacity but they’re getting busier because of the recent uptick in cases.
“We were having a pretty steady decline in January when we peaked in January it was coming down in the state, certainly Broward and Dade, and then that declined slowed down and reversed course around early to mid-March,” said Dr. Tom Macaluso with Memorial Regional Hospital.
Miami-Dade County, which includes Miami Beach, has experienced one of the nation’s worst outbreaks and continues to record high numbers. Florida health officials confirming over 7,000 new cases Wednesday.
Dr. Macaluso said with the rise of new cases and other patients, they’re slowly reaching capacity.
“We’re okay with supplies, we have the bed space but it’s getting tight certainly,” he said.
Medical personnel at Memorial making progress against the pandemic. Their site alone vaccinating 85,000 people since December. Vaccines are available by appointment only.
“As we get supplies, we open up our scheduling system. We’re able to administer 800 or 900 doses per day,” he added.
It’s been over a year since the start of the pandemic.
“We’re exhausted,” said Nurse Manager ICU at Memorial Hospital West Lotta Siegel.
Siegel said the pandemic has taken a toll on her and the team.
“I work with a team of amazing caregivers. They come back to work every single day and night, doing the same work over and over again. They’re not giving up, but they’re exhausted,” she said.
Dr. Macaluso and Siegel encourage people to get vaccinated and continue to follow social distancing guidelines to help put a stop to the spread of the virus.
“We’re not out of this yet but with everybody’s corporation we can get there together,” said Siegel.
“The numbers were coming down a little bit too slowly in South Florida compared to in other places and then the u-turn the numbers took, was discouraging. So I keep saying the vaccine is the secret to this. People have to get vaccinated and in the meantime we have to do a better job with social distancing,” said Tom.
According to the health department, over six million people have received vaccines in Florida, with over three million fully vaccinated.