AdventHealth Morning Briefing: Tackling the COVID-19 surge with your help

Daryl Tol speaking at a press conference Watch Video

Central Florida North, Following today’s AdventHealth Morning Briefing, Dr. Scott Brady was interviewed about COVID-19 testing at Centra Care and when it’s appropriate to be tested or go to the emergency room.

Today’s AdventHealth Morning Briefing focused on the surge of COVID-19 cases in Central Florida and how our hospital system is flexing to meet the demand for available ICU beds and testing.

Daryl Tol, president and CEO of AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division, and Dr. Scott Brady, an internal medicine physician and president of AdventHealth Centra Care, discussed how readiness means everything when meeting the challenges of COVID-19 and how individuals can help put a stop to this global pandemic.

“This virus doesn’t care that we’re tired of it,” said Tol. “It’s growing because as we get out there, we’re not as careful as we should be. This is more of a marathon and takes some patience on our part. Hope doesn’t push it away.”

Highlights from the briefing include:

  • AdventHealth facilities across Central Florida have surge plans in effect and have sufficient capacity to care for patients, including those with COVID-19. Our hospitals are designed to be flexible and expandable.
  • We have sufficient supplies of ventilators, monitors and other specialized equipment and can quickly convert spaces in the hospital to both standard and ICU level rooms. AdventHealth also has an extensive health care system in place here in Central Florida so we can locate patients to the facility that best matches the level of care they need.
  • The continued importance of wearing a mask and social distancing. Much of the surge in current positive COVID tests can be attributed to people letting down their guard and not observing COVID protocols and guidelines.
  • What to do if you know you have been exposed someone who is COVID-positive. If you believe you have been exposed and show no symptoms, please self-isolate for five days and then proceed to an urgent care facility such as Centra Care, which has extended hours and offers the rapid test and the PCR test. The county health department also provides COVID testing.
  • Do not go to an emergency room to get tested for COVID-19. If you are symptomatic, seek care sooner. 
  • The need for convalescent plasma donors. AdventHealth has been one of the leaders in convalescent plasma treatments and is seeking blood donors who have recovered from COVID within the past month because the antibodies in their blood can help others get better.

On Capacity
“We are not at full capacity at AdventHealth. We are managing the increase well. We are testing more across the state, and the percentages are going up. We are seeing an increase in hospitalizations across the state. We have about an 84 percent capacity across seven counties, 16 campuses in total. Almost 20 percent of our ICU beds are still available for additional patients. To put that in context, that’s normal. Our health systems operate in this range of capacity on a regular basis. The growth of COVID is something we are paying close attention to, but the capacity level is still within a manageable range for us.” – Daryl Tol

Where to go for COVID-19 testing?

“Do not go to the Emergency Room if you think you have been exposed to COVID. If you are afraid that you have been exposed to someone with COVID, but are showing no symptoms, you need to isolate yourself. Wait about five days to be tested. On day five, you’re going to have the best chance of getting a positive test if you get tested. You can get that done at any of our urgent care facilities, the county health department has some places to get tested. All of our Centra Care locations offer testing. We offer rapid tests and PCR tests. A few weeks ago we were testing 3,500 a week. Now we’re testing 20,000 a week, and we’re making plans to double that.” – Dr. Scott Brady

On elective surgeries

“As we expand space, and as we expand staffing, it’s more of a dial than a switch. We would typically curtail certain things to make certain space or staff available. You try to continue to do as much as you can because the backlog, even from April, is there. People need care, they need procedures. We are continuing to do elective procedures today, but we are ready to turn the dial if we need to for space and staff.” – Daryl Tol

We encourage you to refer to the video on the Life at AdventHealth Central Florida page to pull direct quotes from Tol and Brady. The video can be downloaded by following this link: https://vimeo.com/434485579.