Florida, United States, is one of several states considered COVID-19 hotspots as of July 2020. As the state continues to battle the pandemic, two AdventHealth clinical leaders joined Florida governor Ron DeSantis and several other health-care voices for a roundtable discussion on the novel coronavirus and the pandemic’s statewide impact on July 21, 2020.
“What we’re seeing across Florida is that we’ve reached a plateau,” said David Moorhead, executive vice president and chief clinical officer for AdventHealth, during the roundtable. “Obviously, no one can predict the future, but over the last week, there’s been a very significant plateau, which is incredibly welcomed.”
Throughout the pandemic, AdventHealth has worked continuously to ensure its systemwide readiness plan was sufficient. As the largest health system headquartered in Florida, this planning has been critical to its COVID-19 response, with the state having seen significant surges in previous weeks and many questioning health-care providers’ ability to handle an influx of patients.
“Today we have capacity, and we have other beds that can be converted into ICU [intensive care unit] and PCU [progressive care unit] beds should we need more. So, we’re ready, and we’re thankful that we’ve seen a flattening in the last week,” said Scott Brady, senior vice president of ambulatory systems for AdventHealth in Central Florida, and president for AdventHealth Centra Care.
An unfortunate byproduct of the pandemic is that many people have delayed seeking care, some for severe ailments like heart attacks and strokes. This avoidance of the hospital, which for some has been driven by fear, has exacerbated some already serious health conditions, and Brady stressed the importance of not delaying care.
“In March and April, we saw a decrease in heart attacks and strokes significantly. As folks started to come in, they were coming in a more serious state, having to stay longer, and their condition was worse. We want people who have serious conditions — strokes, heart attacks, chest pains, any of those conditions — to go to the hospital. Do not delay your care,” he said.
Not lost in the pandemic is the heavy burden on the health-care workers who are caring for patients day in and day out. Moorhead made sure to acknowledge those serving on the front lines of the pandemic and express his gratitude for their efforts.
“Our staff is really busy. They’re tired. They've worked really hard, but they’re hanging in there. These are the real heroes of this whole experience. Every day they're leaving their families and going in and just doing an amazing job. We can’t thank them enough,” he said.
Also joining Moorhead and Brady for the governor’s roundtable was Crystal Stickle, interim president for the Florida Hospital Association; Lindy Kennedy, president for the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida; and Mary Mayhew, secretary for the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration.