Shuttered hospital to reopen for COVID-19 patients; some local hospitals cutting back on elective surgeries

MIAMI (WSVN) - An increase in COVID-19 cases in Florida has lead to local hospitals making a few changes.

Pan American Hospital has reopened to take in COVID-19 patients in Miami-Dade. The facility has 120 beds and is expecting to receive 90 patients over the next several days from nearby hospitals.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he will be speaking to the CEOs of the hospitals in Miami-Dade Wednesday about cutting back on the number of elective surgeries due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

However, Jackson Health Systems already confirmed that they will be scaling back on elective surgeries due to the surge in COVID-19 cases and patients being hospitalized because of it. They are now restricting surgeries and procedures to emergency and urgent cases only.

Jackson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya said the restrictions are due to a shortage of ICU beds.

“Back in March, when we all shut down electives, the biggest issue we had at the time was the shortness of PPE,” he said. “There wasn’t shortness of beds at that point in time.”

Baptist Health is also pausing elective procedures in some of their hospitals if the patient requires overnight stay.

Memorial Healthcare systems in Broward said they will follow suit and perform only emergency and urgent surgeries.

A representative for Broward Health said they are not cancelling any surgeries.

The rollbacks come just after the Florida Department of Health reported over 6,500 new cases throughout the state, 1,141 of which came from Miami-Dade County and 531 came from Broward County.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced new restrictions for hotels over the July 4th weekend and changes to in-house dining. On Wednesday, he also announced that all people in the county must wear a mask in all indoor and outdoor public spaces.

“That will have a pretty substantial impact on the way we do business,” said Ben Potts, one of the partners at Beaker & Gray.

Potts said that with the original COVID-19 reopening guidelines, curfews during the recent protests and the new rule closing in-house dining from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m., it’s been a difficult time for local businesses.

“That is another hurdle that we are trying to get over, and we understand why, but at the same time, it does pose a pretty big challenge for the business,” he said.

Dr. David de la Zerda, a pulmonologist at Jackson Memorial Hospital, spoke with 7News Tuesday to explain the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

“If you want to reopen the economy in a smarter way, you have to open businesses, and restaurants should do deliveries, no seating in restaurants,” he said. “I live close to the beach, and you can see it’s like a party every single day, so I would close the beaches and the parks again because people need to be more responsible, and you don’t see that on the streets. People don’t wear masks. You see people in the parks and the streets, so I would close back those parks, and businesses-related and restaurants should be open but only for take-out and deliveries.”

Memorial Healthcare System released the following update Wednesday afternoon:

“As of Wednesday, July 1, Memorial Healthcare System hospitals will only perform emergency or urgent surgeries, as well as outpatient procedures that do not require hospitalization. At this time, the limitation in surgeries does not include Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.”

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.