PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — In order to make sure there are enough hospital beds for a "growing number of severely-ill" COVID-19 patients in Pinellas and Pasco county, BayCare will temporarily reduce the number of non-urgent surgeries performed.
The health care system says the policy change does not affect BayCare hospitals in Hillsborough and Polk county. However, the policy would be adopted if the other counties see a lack of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
The policy change takes effect at 5 p.m. on July 10 for the following four BayCare hospitals in Pinellas County:
- St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg
- Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater
- Mease Countryside Hospital in Clearwater
- Mease Dunedin Hospital
The policy change takes effect on July 13 for the following BayCare hospital in Pasco County: Morton Plant North Bay.
Under the plan, all life-threatening surgeries will still be performed. The health care system says this policy change isn't like the state-mandated ban on elective surgeries that happened earlier this year. Instead, the hospitals will still allow for as many non-urgent surgeries to continue.
The health care system's Ambulatory Surgery Centers are not impacted by any closures and will continue to operate.
BayCare says available hospital bed capacity in both counties has declined "significantly in the past month due to rising COVID-19 cases."
According to the AHCA, as of Friday afternoon, only 15.8 percent of Pinellas County's hospital beds were available. As for Pasco County, it saw a similar number with only 14.6 percent availability.
“This policy will impact far fewer people’s health care than the previous ban this year on all non-urgent surgeries,” Tommy Inzina, CEO of BayCare Health System said. “This is really about one key resource that we need to be sure we have available and that is hospital beds for those battling COVID-19.”
As of July 9, 10,293 Pinellas County residents and 3,559 Pasco residents had tested positive for COVID-19.
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