Effective last Wednesday, Sept. 1, facilities in AdventHealth’s Central Florida division transitioned from black status to red, which will allow for additional deferred surgical procedures to move forward. 

After about four weeks in black status, which meant deferring non-urgent surgeries and procedures, AdventHealth moved to red status to accommodate more surgeries that could become more urgent as time goes on.

The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized across the system’s Central Florida hospitals declined last week to about 1,330, a level that continues to remain higher than earlier surges.

“We are optimistic in that we feel that number is going to continue to go down, but it’s important to understand our hospitals and ICUs continue to be at very tight capacity,” said Dr. Victor Herrera, chief medical officer at AdventHealth Orlando. “It’s going to be some time before we really feel that relief.”

Capacity in the ICUs remains a challenge, he said, with the number of patients requiring that level of care not declining at the same rate as overall COVID patients.

He noted that more than 11,000 COVID patients have recovered and been discharged from AdventHealth’s Central Florida hospitals this year.

“It’s really an incredible number,” Herrera, an infectious disease specialist, said. “I know that we have saved many lives and our therapies, our treatments have proven to be very effective.”

He said a huge difference remains between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients, with most critically ill patients continuing to be unvaccinated.

“During my career, I have never seen a vaccine that is more effective than the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.

According to Dr. Neil Finkler, chief clinical officer of the hospital’s Central Florida Division, the downward trend of COVID patients in the hospitals will allow them to provide care to those who have had to delay certain procedures. 

“Our teams are still working very hard and we’re not out the woods, but we want to do everything we can to improve the quality-of-life for those who have been patiently waiting,” he said.

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