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Coronavirus Live Updates: Memorial Healthcare Plans To Reopen For Elective, Outpatient Procedures

Recreational park leader Nicole Nieblas, 18, hands out a paper unemployment form to a Miami Dade County resident after he waited in line at Slade park in Hialeah, Florida on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

This post will be updated today, Monday, May 4, with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.

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Hospitals Are Safe’ Memorial Healthcare System Says As It Reopens For Elective Procedures, Outpatient Care


Monday 4:45 p.m. 



Memorial Healthcare System has begun preparing its six hospitals in southern Broward County to reopen for elective procedures as well as outpatient medical care. 


Each hospital has a center set up outside the building that will be used for all pre-procedural and preoperative testing, before patients enter the hospital.


“Hospitals are safe—our COVID-19 patients, and we’ve had a fair number… are separated from the general patient population that are in our healthcare system,” Chief Medical Officer of Memorial Healthcare System, Dr. Stanley Marks, said at a Monday press conference. “And they will remain separated.” 


The hospital system will continue its no visitors policy, except for exceptional circumstances, for the time being, Marks said. Memorial will also focus on spacing patients out, keeping the operating rooms below capacity. The hospital system will start at around 25 percent, and hopes to be able to increase to its full capacity by the end of the month, Marks said. 


Like other hospital systems around the state, Memorial never stopped doing urgent and emergency surgeries during the pandemic. Now, adding other procedures back in, they will focus on scheduling cases that don’t require donated blood due to a national shortage, and don’t require a stay in an intensive care unit, or ICU, if at all possible. 


If the system sees any spike in hospitalizations, EMS runs, deaths, positive COVID-19 tests, “we would have to pull it back. We don’t want to do that but if we have to, we will,” Marks said. 


Several doctors mentioned concerns that people with heart disease and stroke symptoms have been avoiding treatment because of fear of contracting the virus at hospitals. 


“I know that this crisis had led to less patients seeking emergency care for stroke, and cardiac symptoms and other disease entities for the past six weeks,” said Dr. Randy Katz, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Memorial Regional Hospital. “The number of strokes and heart attacks we are treating has decreased, but we know that these things don’t go on a vacation during a pandemic. And it’s heartbreaking to see patients arriving in the emergency department seeking care too late for us to help them.”


“Time is brain, time is heart muscle, and preventive care saves lives,” Katz said. 


Dr. Paula Eckardt, Memorial’s Chief of Infectious Disease said that to date, Memorial has run about 13,000 tests in its lab, and has conducted around 23,000 tests out of the drive-thru site with the state at C.B. Smith Park. 


“We have sufficient personal protective equipment to continue to work with all of our units and the new strategy of opening up,” Eckardt said.



-Caitie Switalski

Miami, Hialeah Offer Residents Financial Help. Applications Open Monday

Updated Monday at 8 a.m.

Residents and business owners in the cities of Miami and Hialeah can on Monday begin applying for grants and loans to help pay the rent with financial aid programs created to lessen the blow of the economic decline brought on during the coronavirus pandemic.

The economy mostly shuttered during lockdowns meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, triggering massive job losses across the U.S. As of Sunday, more than 1 million Floridians have filed for unemployment.

Both Miami and Hialeah’s city governments are allocating millions in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to aid proprietors and tenants. Congress approved the grants as part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.

The City of Miami will open online applications at noon on Monday. Those without internet access can file an application over the phone. 

For more information on the City of Miami Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program click here

For more information on the City of Miami Business Continuity Micro Enterprise Program click here

For more information on the City of Miami Small Business Emergency Loan Program click here.

In Hialeah, online applications will also open Monday. For those interested in an in-person aplication process paper applications will be available at the John F. Kennedy Library beginning at 8 a.m. Monday.

For more information on the City of Hialeah Save Our Business Fund program click here

For more information on the City of Hialeah Landlord-Tenant Relief Fund click here.  

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