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'The hospitals are struggling,' health care leaders say as ICU beds quickly fill

Multiple hospitals were down to zero available beds in their ICU units on Tuesday.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — During a Pinellas County Commission meeting Tuesday afternoon, local hospital executives painted a grim picture of their facilities, saying hospitals are hitting capacity and are overall struggling.

RELATED: How to track ICU bed availability in Tampa Bay

"Our staff is absolutely stressed, and as I said we have to go to the state reserves to get additional nursing,” said Dr. Larry Feinman, Chief Medical Officer for HCA West Florida.

On top of that, the number of available hospital beds are dwindling, and ICUs are filling up fast.

"We're not through the end of this by any means, and I think sometimes that gets lost because we see signs of hope, and we all go on," said Dr. Nishant Anand, executive vice president and chief medical officer at BayCare.

In Polk County, the state deployed its first mobile field hospital to ease the burden. It has a 15-bed capacity to help with overflow at Winter Haven Hospital whereas of Tuesday, the Agency for Health Care Administration reported there were just four ICU beds left. 

There are some hospitals in our area, like St. Petersburg General, that were down to zero.

Additionally, potentially life-saving drugs like remdesivir are in low-supply.

RELATED: Sarasota Memorial gets much-needed supply of Remdesivir

RELATED: DeSantis: Remdesivir heading to Florida hospitals to help fight COVID-19

RELATED: Hospitals face tough decisions with limited supplies of Remdesivir

"We do get shipments time-to-time. We do not, do not, do not, have enough for the number of people who we believe need it,” said Dr. Anand.

Not only are many hospitals struggling to keep remdesivir in stock, they're also struggling to supply backup treatments

"We do use the convalescent plasma an alternative, but we do continue to need more of that treatment as well,” Anand said.

But perhaps the biggest wish doctors want is for the public to do its part to stop the spread by avoiding large groups and wearing masks.

"I think we have to respect each other. It's a tremendous sign of disrespect when we don't wear masks in front of each other when we can't be far apart. I think the thought that this is a hoax and that the hospitals are somehow benefiting is absurd,” Feinman said.

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