TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — With the COVID-19 variant surging in Florida, the stress on healthcare workers continues.
“Staffers are just very tired. We are doing the best we can to support them. But I think that’s been their biggest challenge is they are worn out. And they are ready for this to end," said AdventHealth North Pinellas CEO Jason Dunkel.
Part of the issue is overcrowding.
AdventHealth officials say they are at capacity with more than 600 COVID patients in the Tampa Bay region.
But next week a newly-renovated emergency room will be opening in Tarpon Springs at North Pinellas hospital.
It has 18 private rooms, a helpful addition when dealing with COVID patients.
“The ability to keep patients in their own rooms gives us a huge advantage and some flexibility with how we manage these folks in a really safe and quick fashion," said Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Longley.
The new ER also has what’s called a negative pressure room where the air is filtered out.
It’s especially effective with an airborne virus like COVID.
“Across the Tampa Bay area, everyone’s been playing with capacity with both regular sick patients that don’t have COVID, and then you’ve got the pandemic on top of that. So what this allows us to do is get a really efficient process from our EMS drop off as well as walk-ins," said Longley.
Officials say staff can’t wait to move into this new facility.
It also has more open workspaces to encourage social distances while on the job. AdventHealth North Pinellas said this is the largest investment it has made to its hospital.