How Central Florida hospitals are preparing for possible influx of coronavirus cases

ORLANDO, Fla. — Tents are popping up outside of local Central Florida hospitals as staff prepare for a possible influx of patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

AdventHealth officials said they are setting up tents outside of each of their hospitals in preparation.

AdventHealth’s website has an alert urging those who feel they are at risk for having COVID-19 to call their health care provider or their local department of health.

READ: Coronavirus: Nurses, hospital list what to buy now if you end up testing positive for COVID-19

“In order to avoid the spread of COVID-19, you should avoid the emergency room at your local hospital except in cases of an emergency,” the bulletin says.

AdventHealth is also encouraging patients to take advantage of its telehealth services to be able to speak with a doctor from the comfort of your own home. Click here to read more about the available telehealth services.

Halifax Health officials said they are taking a similar course of action, setting up emergency services tents and separate screening areas at all their hospitals in order to facilitate quicker and safer screening of patients who present with possible COVID-19 symptoms.

President and CEO of Halifax Health Jeff Feasel wrote in a statement that last week, with the exception of end of life situations, the hospitals restricted its visitation policy to allow only two visitors per patient. Only asymptomatic partners, immediate family over 12 years of age and health care surrogates may access Halifax Health locations.

LIVE UPDATES: License expiring soon? Gov. DeSantis grants renewal extension due to coronavirus

He said all visitors are screened for symptoms of the flu and possible COVID-19, and anyone with flu-like symptoms will not be allowed access.

“Our role in this pandemic is to remain open and ready to care for the most ill in our community,” he said.

Click here to read Feasel’s full statement.

Handling Coronavirus at Halifax Health. - A message from Jeff Feasel, President and CEO.

Posted by Halifax Health on Monday, March 16, 2020

As of March 13, Orlando Health said it is conducting verbal screenings of all visitors due to concerns about COVID-19.

“First and foremost, we want you to know that Orlando Health is prepared to care for COVID-19 cases and to protect the safety of our patients, visitors, team members and the communities we serve,” said David Strong, president and CEO of Orlando Health, in a statement.

READ: Coronavirus checklist: 100-plus disinfectants that may kill coronavirus on surfaces

Orlando Health officials said all of their hospitals have done emergency preparedness drills in the event a COVID-19 patient is brought to one of their facilities, and that they are managing placement and supply selection for hand hygiene stations throughout their facilities.

Click here to learn more about what Orlando Health is doing to prepare.

Ocala Regional Medical Center officials said they are taking several steps to address the needs related to COVID-19 including:

  • Limiting entry into hospitals and clinics so anyone who enters into patient care areas can be carefully screened, and masks can be provided to those who need them.
  • Asking every employee, caregiver, and physician to follow a self-screening procedure.
  • Taking precautions to treat patients with COVID-19 that are similar to those taken to treat patients with influenza, with restricted visitation to limit exposure, which officials said is commonplace procedure during any flu season.
  • Cleaning to prevent the spread of infection is occurring throughout all of their care sites.
  • Caring for those with COVID-19 symptoms in isolated areas of the hospital, so staff can safely provide continuous care for all other medical needs.

Download the WFTV news app and watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates on this developing story, or click here to have updates sent straight to your inbox.

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.