Coronavirus Updates Public Health

AdventHealth ICU doctor says vaccination is still the “way out” of the COVID-19 pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla., Eduardo Oliveira, MD

AdventHealth said Thursday morning that more than 1,200 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized across the health system’s Central Florida hospitals.

Dr. Eduardo Oliveira, executive medical director of critical care services at AdventHealth Central Florida, said at today’s briefing that the system’s decision to defer non-emergency surgeries last week has helped free up staff to be redeployed to care for critically ill COVID patients as well as make space in the ICU.

“This is the highest number of COVID patients we’ve treated so far,” Oliveira said. “It’s definitely putting a certain level of strain on our system as far as our ability to care for all of those patients. We’ve done that very well so far, but it’s a high number.”

He said care teams want the community to know that getting more people vaccinated is the way to end the pandemic and bring some relief inside the hospitals.

“The waves we have now are totally preventable,” Oliveira said. “The more we protect ourselves, the less COVID is going to be a part of our lives.”

Most COVID patients in the ICU today are requiring mechanical ventilation, Oliveira noted, with more than 90% of those patients unvaccinated.

He said he’s heard from some patients’ family members who said they went to get the vaccine after watching a loved one decline.

And sometimes, he said, it’s “what we don’t hear … the silence … you can sense on the patient’s face or by the family’s behavior that they wish they had gotten vaccinated.”

He noted AdventHealth began last year offering monoclonal antibody treatments or outpatient infusions for COVID-positive patients that have proven highly effective at preventing patients from getting sick enough to require hospitalization. Consumers can find more information about monoclonal antibodies here.

In order to be effective monoclonal antibody treatment must be administered in the first ten days after developing symptoms. The surest way to prevent serious illness is the vaccine.