Orange County hospitals prepare for influx of patients as testing is expected to increase, Mayor Demings says

On Wednesday, health officials announced that there are three news cases of coronavirus in Orange County, bringing their total to nine patients.

Drive-thru testing is expected to be running soon near the Orange County Convention Center. Doctors say that once this is in place, numbers will rise even more.

"This for us is just the beginning," Dr. Raul Pino, a health officer at the Orange County Health Department said.

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Hospitals are preparing now for the influx of patients. For example, AdventHealth in east Orange County has already set up tents outside their facility. More tents have been set up near Orlando Regional Medical Center's emergency room.

 Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings added that "if it spreads, the more we will lose capacity within our existing hospitals to be able to deal with it."

But he assured the public that Orange County has adequate facilities to handle the number of cases they are seeing so far. The county is also getting state help to handle any increase but if people ignore CDC guidelines for gathering and continue spreading the virus, things could change.

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Dr. Paul Rino said that people should self-isolate and call their primary care doctors if they suspect they may have COVID-19. 

"Do not go to the ER id you don’t have to. Going to the ER is for life-threatening events. It’s not just for a fever, I don’t feel well, or I wanted to be tested. We need the media’s support in sending this message. Our ERs will be overwhelmed, our system overrun, and our system will not have the capacity to respond to those who really need it," he said.


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