Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) announced that it is continuing to see an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations, particularly in young people. As of Wednesday afternoon, 118 of the hospital's 716 patients were infected with coronavirus and 26 were in the ICU. Both numbers break previous records for the hospital, whose current seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate is 11.3 percent.
SMH has 839 total beds and 72 ICU beds, with ventilators available to create 100 ICU beds, if needed. Hospital CEO David Verinder said in a video update to staff on Wednesday that while SMH currently has enough PPE, equipment and beds to handle the current surge in patients, it is currently out of convalescent plasma and the investigative antiviral drug remdesivir.
In the video, Verinder said that "it's reasonable to expect" a decrease non-emergent surgeries in "the very near future," adding that there is concern about a staffing shortage and that the hospital is currently in talks with temp agencies about augmenting its personnel.
SMH's no-visitor policy is still in effect, and the hospital is now requiring staff to wear eye protection in addition to masks. The hospital is also part of a clinical trial that is testing a new, dual-action antibody treatment designed to reduce the severity and potentially stop the spread of COVID-19; it is one of only three hospitals in the state participating.