provide updates on COVID-19 issues facing the community.
The return of these updates should help keep the public
informed regarding what the medical community and county
government are doing in response, as well as testing and
vaccination locations and updated CDC recommendations.
During these weekly events, the public can pose questions to
the panel of experts.
By mid-August, all three local hospital systems were over
capacity and continued to deal with a strong surge in patients.
According to John Scott, Brevard County emergency director,
hospital emergency rooms are also seeing surges in patients
with COVID-19 symptoms, though not all of those visiting
the ER have an emergency situation, a situation that poses
safety concerns for real emergencies such as traffic accidentrelated
trauma patients, cardiac victims or others needing
County health and emergency services officials issued a plea
to consider other options before taxing ambulance services
with nonemergency calls and not to show up at the ER for
a COVID test when other test sites are available. Scott said
people looking to be tested should do so at an urgent care,
pharmacy or through their personal physicians.
Unfortunately, delays were being encountered where
testing is available. At some locations, appointments were
36: SPACE COAST LIVING | SPACECOASTLIVING.COM
Pregnant women are encouraged to get a vaccination because of increased risk.
Health First cardiologist Dr. Khalid Sheikh discusses treatment options with a patient. Masks have
been required at all Health First facilities since the start of the pandemic, and the protocol will be
in place until the danger of contracting the virus subsides.
necessary. Others have seen long lines or are
requesting patients to wait in their vehicles
until notified to come inside for a test.
“Testing is still widely available in our
community, but like anything, as the numbers
go up, so too does the demand for testing,”
Scott said. “The demand is up.”
Brevard County Fire Rescue Chief Mark Schollmeyer
noted that its ambulance personnel
were transporting approximately a dozen
individuals with COVID-related symptoms per
day to local hospitals, a number that equals the
height of the pandemic in 2020.
The good news among all the bleak is that
while hospitalizations were up, death rates
“We have better treatments,” Modari said.
“We’re in a better place to handle the surge.”
As more people realize the critical need for vaccination
and for practicing vigilant hygiene, the
surge will recede, and, perhaps those zero patient
parties will finally be held. For now, Dr. Barry
Inman with the Florida Department of Health in
Brevard has a simple message of advice.
“The best thing to do is get vaccinated,”