What would a 'surge' of cases mean for Flagler County? 'We don't have an answer,' hospital official says.
AdventHealth Palm Coast is well equipped so far for the COVID-19 crisis, with fewer than half of its 15 ventilators in use treating patients, according to Wally D’Aquino, chief operating officer for the hospital. Also, the hospital has 18 licensed intensive care unit rooms, but it could convert up to 48 more rooms to become “ICU-like” if there is a surge of patients.
“Where we need to be cautious, is when we talk about a surge, what is that? What does that mean?” D’Aquino said April 3 on WNZF’s “Free For All Friday.” “We are in good shape right now. If we have a surge, if numbers double — two, three times — we’re fine here. What does the 'surge' mean? That’s the question, and we don’t have an answer. … If we keep on the pace we’re doing right now, we’re going to be fine, if people stay home.”
D’Aquino did not say how many of the 15 ventilators are in use, but he said other AdventHealth hospitals are testing whether one ventilator can be used for two patients. They are also testing whether some anesthesia equipment can be modified to be used as a ventilator.
Also in AdventHealth Palm Coast, patients are being set up for virtual visitation.
“We are learning a lot through this whole experience,” D’Aquino said. “We’re improving the relationship with the patients we have that are staying longer and getting tired of being in the hospital. We’re working with virtual visitation, training our nurses and staff, training them how to do that with their own device, or we’re providing a device to talk their loved ones.”
Physicians are also consulting virtually with patients, he said.