AdventHealth Ocala maintains current COVID-19 protocols

[Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

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Posted July 22, 2021 | By Carlos Medina,

[Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

While the Central Florida division of AdventHealth announced limits to elective surgery, visitors and reintroduced facemask policies on Thursday in response to a recent spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the changes do not apply to AdventHealth Ocala.

The local hospital is part of the west Florida division of the hospital group and will continue with its current protocols, according to Ashley Jeffery, a hospital spokeswoman.

“We will continue our elective procedures as planned,” Jeffery said.

There are no changes to the visitor policy at AdventHealth Ocala, but the hospital continues to require anyone entering the facility to wear a mask and adhere to CDC guidelines for safety, according to a press release issued on July 22.

The west Florida division includes 12 facilities. AdventHealth Ocala is the most eastwardly located facility in the division.

While AdventHealth Ocala is keeping the current protocols in place, Marion County has seen a spike in its cases since late June. Weekly cases have gone from less than 100 about a month ago, to 652 cases through July 15, according to the most recent data available.

The Florida Department of Health stopped reporting the daily number of cases in late June and now reports new cases once a week on Friday.

Hospitalizations in the county have increased as well. For the week ending July 16, hospitalizations nearly doubled. The number of people in the area’s three acute-care hospitals rose to 61 from 33, according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the seven days preceding July 16.

Of those hospitalized, 60 were unvaccinated. Ten of those were in COVID intensive care units, according to a local dashboard operated by Dr. David Kuhn of Trinity Clinic.

“AdventHealth has seen a significant uptick in COVID-19 cases at its facilities across West Florida in recent weeks. We have seen an increase in COVID hospitalizations in AdventHealth hospital locations in Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Marion, Pasco, and Pinellas counties but we still have fewer COVID patients compared to the peak in 2020,” the AdventHealth west division release stated. “At this time, AdventHealth West Florida Division hospital locations have sufficient capacity to care for patients, including those with COVID-19. The Delta variant is the most prominent strain we are seeing in our system.”

In comparison, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at AdventHealth hospitals in the Central Florida division more than doubled in the last two weeks, from 310 on July 8 to 720 on Thursday, said Dr. Neil Finkler, chief clinical officer for AdventHealth’s Central Florida division, during a Facebook livestream.


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