As the May 8th deadline for executive order that shut down Florida approaches, Gov. Ron DeSantis is methodically visiting the largest hospital systems in the state and giving them the platform to declare that they are ready to open for business.
A panel of doctors convened at Tampa General Hospital (TGH) on April 27th and outlined the current status of the healthcare system in Hillsborough County with a population of about 1.4 million.
DeSantis point blank asked the panel, “Is there any doubt in your mind that you can handle the surge?” The answer: “If we see a surge or cluster, we will be ready and prepared.”
“Of any major county, this is one of the best performing counties in the country,” DeSantis said pointing to the 2.5 cases per capita (1,000 residents).
Tampa General Hospital President and CEO John Couris declared TGH as ready to open, and will do so on May 11th assuming the executive order is lifted.
He said the COVID-19 cases peaked in late March with 14 cases and that TGH currently has 8 cases as of April 27th.
Couris went on to define the readiness by listing available resources which include three COVID units, 152 negative pressure rooms with vents, ICU equipment and teams and specialist ready to respond to COVID-positive cases.
“Our lab testing,” Couris said, “We can do 850 tests a day. He added that the TGH measured 342 positives out of 7,000 tests as of April 27th.
“We will have a state of readiness and remain prepared,” he said and added that he was, “Not only speaking for Tampa General, but probably every hospital across the state.”
DeSantis revisited his idea of increasing testing by certifying all licensed pharmacists in the state to allow them to perform COVID-19 tests.
“I’ve waived all of the regulations,” he said, clearing the way for pharmacies throughout Florida to start adding COVID-19 testing to their services.