SARASOTA, Fla. -- In early June, doctors and nurses at Sarasota Memorial Hospital say they were relieved as COVID-19 units began to empty, but the relief was short-lived.
"I don’t really think any us realized just how much of a marathon this would be," said David Verinder, SMH CEO.
Verinder says as the state reopened, so did the opportunity for the virus to spread.
On June 4, SMH had nine COVID-19 patients.
By June 30, that number jumped to 50, shattering their previous record of 43 coronavirus patients set on May 10.
"The current trend is troubling. We’ve seen our census double in the past week and a half," said Verinder.
SMH takes in the majority of COVID-19 patients in the Sarasota area.
The average age of a COVID positive patient in Sarasota County is 45, which is higher than most counties in the Tampa Bay area.
The hospital says this spike is affecting people of all ages.
"What we’re seeing right now is the general community spread, people becoming ill and having to get hospitalized, a much younger age this time," said Verinder.
But the younger age seems to be recovering more quickly.
SMH says two patients have died from COVID-19 in the past six weeks, whereas from March to May, they had close to 30 patient deaths from the virus.
The hospital says they have space if numbers continue to increase or even double, but the current upward trend needs to be turned around quickly.