The Pandemic

Sarasota Memorial Expands ICU Due to Covid Surge

The unit went from 62 to 120 beds to accommodate severely ill Covid-19 patients.

By Allison Forsyth September 2, 2021

Sarasota Memorial Hospital has expanded its intensive care unit from 62 beds to 120 beds—the most it's had since the beginning of the pandemic. The expansion is in response to the surge in Covid-19 cases in Sarasota-Manatee, largely due to the highly-transmissible Delta variant.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 2, 69 of the 106 ICU patients are Covid-19 positive. Fifty-two of these positive patients are on ventilators. The total Covid-19 positive patients hospitalized is 223. Eighty-three percent of the Covid-19 positive patients at the hospital are unvaccinated.

In addition the increase in hospitalizations at SMH, there has also been an increase in deaths. Since Aug. 6, 2021, 85 patients have died, and 15 of those deaths have been in the last five days alone. A total of 335 patients have died at Sarasota Memorial due to Covid-19 complications since the pandemic began in March 2020.

To accommodate the rapid increase in deaths, the hospital is leasing a refrigerated trailer in case more space is required to store those who have passed.

In a recent Facebook post, SMH infectious disease specialist Dr. Manuel Gordillo reiterated that vaccination, including a booster shot when available, is the best way to reduce hospitalization and death. "Vaccines continue to show exceptional efficacy to prevent severe outcomes," he wrote.

For daily Covid-19 updates from Sarasota Memorial Hospital, click here.

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