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Staff shortages and surging coronavirus cases are straining Florida hospitals

Staff shortages and surging coronavirus cases are straining Florida hospitals

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in Florida, although not yet to the peak levels seen during the delta surge last summer. Florida Hospital Association president Mary Mayhew says staff having to isolate due to the virus and workers taking lucrative travel jobs are posing challenges for hospitals amid the omicron surge. [Source: WUSF]

UF researchers say omicron cases will peak sooner than expected

According to a report released by the University of Florida, the COVID-19 omicron variant will peak sooner than expected. In December, UF researchers predicted the omicron wave would reach its peak in February, but with the recent surge they’re now predicting the variant will peak within the next two weeks in the state. [Source: Health News Florida]

COVID-19 test fraud in Florida: Fake sites, fake health-care workers at real sites, online scams

Florida’s attorney general warned Thursday of COVID-19 testing scammers seeking to steal victims’ personal, financial or medical information. The office has received reports of fake test sites, people impersonating health-care workers at legitimate sites and at-home testing scams, Ashley Moody said in a statement. [Source: Orlando Sentinel ]

'Get ready': Florida health experts expect to see a rise in pediatric cases of 'flurona'

Kids are more susceptible to 'flurona' because they are more exposed and their immunity to viruses isn’t as strong, according to health officials. “Only 15% of the 5 to 11-year-olds have been vaccinated so far in the country, and they are going back to school as you know this week. So get ready. If you think the numbers are high now, we will see combinations - flurona - in the near future," said Dr. Larry Bush, an infectious disease specialist. [Source: WPBF]

Florida issues new guidelines for COVID testing. They're different than the CDC's.

The Florida Department of Health has released new COVID-19 testing guidelines aimed at reducing the demand for testing in the state. Only residents with symptoms of the virus who are considered high-risk should get tested, according to the new recommendations. Symptoms includes anyone 65 and older, has a medical condition like cancer, diabetes or chronic heart and lung problems, and/or who is pregnant or recently gave birth. All other individuals, even those who have come in contact with an infected person, are being encouraged to wait to get tested until symptoms appear. [Source: WMFE]


› HCA Healthcare buys 59 urgent care centers, continuing its expansion in Florida
HCA Healthcare has bought MD Now Urgent Care and its 59 Florida centers, expanding the hospital chain’s footprint as an urgent care provider with a total of more than 170 clinics across the state. “The addition of MD Now Urgent Care in Florida enhances our already strong capabilities in a rapidly growing state by providing convenient outpatient care options for our patients,” said Sam Hazen, HCA Healthcare’s CEO.

› Florida sent scarce COVID-19 therapy to a small private clinic before some big hospitals
Florida shipped a scarce new COVID-19 monoclonal antibody drug to treat the most vulnerable of patients — those with cancer or organ transplants whose immune systems don’t respond well to a vaccine — to a private clinic in Broward County before sending the therapeutic to Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, which runs the largest solid organ transplant center in the Southeastern United States and provides follow-up care to thousands of immuno-compromised patients.

› Health First puts halt on ‘non-emergency’ surgeries that require overnight hospital stay
Health First is suspending all “non-emergency” surgeries that require an overnight hospital stay for at least the next two weeks, as a result of the surge in COVID-19 cases in the community and increasing hospitalizations. The decision will impact Health First’s four hospitals — Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach, Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Palm Bay Hospital and Viera Hospital.

› Lakewood Ranch gastroenterology network names CFO
The corporate controller at Florida Digestive Health Specialists just got a big promotion to a senior level position. Michelle Hough was named the new CFO of the statewide gastroenterology network. She joined the Lakewood Ranch-based organization in 2016, overseeing the central billing office as well as providing comprehensive financial reviews of the corporate office, 26 clinics, pathology lab, research institute and a variety of additional ancillary service lines, according to a statement.