Lakeland, FL –
The volume of COVID-19 patients at the Medical Center continued its increase in the last week. Right now, we have 85 COVID-19 positive patients in our Medical Center and 6 COVID-19 patients awaiting testing results.
As our Medical Center enters what is typically its busiest season and during what appears to be a second surge of COVID-19 cases in Polk County, we want to ensure that our community is armed with the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and how the local hospital is faring during the pandemic.
We continue to see large volumes for COVID-19 testing at our Urgent Care and Pediatric locations, our Main Drive-Thru Testing Center and our Pediatric Testing at our Children’s Emergency Department. Effective December 20, our South Lakeland Drive-Thru Testing Center at the Medulla Community Center will close. We are grateful for the county funding to make this testing option a possibility for our community.
Lakeland Regional Health is committed to offering the most convenient and accurate testing options to the community, using six testing platforms to ensure patients receive the timeliest care. We are currently exploring a testing system that will allow for increased capacity. More to come on that.
We currently have 826 patients admitted to our 864-bed Medical Center, with 23% of our Intensive Care Unit beds available for patients. Please be reminded that we typically see near-capacity numbers this time of year. All hospitals, including ours, have surge plans in place that allow us to adeptly handle these types of volumes every winter. In addition, these numbers change rapidly as patients are discharged or moved and new patients are admitted.
NOTE: To meet our current patient placement needs, we are using some of our overflow ICU beds as part of our surge plan. The percentage above has been adjusted accordingly.
Lakeland Regional Health continues to administer bamlanivimab with much success to high-risk COVID-19 patients ages 12 years and older. Out of 45 patients who received bamlanivimab since November 19, 2020, only 1 required admission to our Medical Center. The drug therapy is aimed at curbing the severity of symptoms to reduce a patient’s need for hospitalization. In addition to the 140 Bamlanivimab doses, we also are receiving 40 doses of Regeneron. Both drugs function as an antibody treatment. We are actively educating Urgent Care centers, Emergency Departments, Pediatric providers and Drive-Thru testing centers in the area about this promising new drug therapy.
Lakeland Regional Health is actively preparing for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, procuring a sub-freezing chiller to adequately hold the doses. Our health system is among the second set of health systems in Florida that will receive shipments, estimated to arrive before the end of 2020. It is widely known that these vaccines are designated for healthcare and long-term care facility workers as well as residents of long-term care facilities. We have established an appointment scheduling process and recruited clinical team members to administer the injections so that we are ready when the vaccination doses arrive. We highly encourage our team members to receive the vaccine and will be providing educational information to team members in the next week.
Our infectious disease experts want to emphasize the importance of limiting this year’s holiday celebrations to immediate family members. Meeting with friends and family members who may have unknowingly been exposed to COVID-19 while we are experiencing a Community Surge is considered risky. The spread of the virus in Florida’s long-term facilities, such as nursing homes, has largely been under control. Celebrations with elderly relatives should be conducted by phone or video. Those who need “travel testing,” such as college students and school-age children who attend in-person classes, can visit our Drive-Thru Testing Center. Appointments can be made by calling 863.413.5907.