Sarasota hospital rents refrigerated trailer as “precautionary measure” to increase morgue capacity amid COVID peak

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – The latest wave of COVID-19 cases continues to strain Florida state hospital systems.

On Tuesday, one-third of the Sarasota Memorial Hospital patient census was positive for COVID. Hospital officials say 278 patients have tested positive for COVID-19 and 52 of those patients are in intensive care.

SMH’s Infection Prevention and Control medical director last week said “the hospital is down.”

“We are still in the exponential phase of growth. Are we reaching the top? I hope so because I don’t know how long we can sustain more, ”said Dr Manuel Gordillo.

Cases have been on the increase since early July. As expected, COVID-related deaths have been delayed a few weeks. Hospital data shows 69 people have died from COVID-19 since August 1, including 20 since last Friday.

The hospital has remained at the forefront throughout this latest increase, increasing intensive care capacity as needed.

The same precautionary measures are in place for fatalities.

“We hired a refrigerated trailer as a precaution to increase the capacity of our mortuary in case it becomes necessary during this fourth wave of the pandemic. The trailer is not in use at the moment, but is being prepared in case we see an increase in the days / weeks to come, ”a hospital spokesperson told 8 On Your Side in a report. E-mail.

The hospital remains hopeful that they will not have to use the trailer.

“We are seeing a flattening in the number of people who test positive in our hospital, so hopefully the trend will lead to fewer hospitalizations in the coming days / weeks,” a hospital spokesperson said.

The hospital continues to urge residents to take measures to protect themselves and the community, including masking themselves, good hand hygiene, avoiding crowds and getting vaccinated.

“Right now all hospitals in Florida are under tremendous stress and we must do everything possible to restore the ability of our health care system to function more normally,” said Dr. Gordillo.

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