Local hospitals postpone elective surgeries citing increase of positive COVID-19 cases

Citing the rise of positive COVID-19 cases across Florida and here in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton Counties, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (FWBMC) and Twin Cities Hospital (TCH) have postponed elective surgeries.

Beginning Thursday, July 16, FWBMC and TCH will temporarily defer the scheduling of elective surgeries. According to a press release, this measure will be implemented as part of established hospital surge plans and is being done to ensure that their care teams can effectively treat patients experiencing both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 health concerns. 

“We are confident in our hospital’s ability to care for the community as the pandemic evolves in Florida and here in our area,” said Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. “This proactive step ensures our readiness to serve the community as we monitor hospital capacity, which fluctuates daily, and the reported COVID-19 positive cases around the state. We will work with our surgeons to evaluate the status of each elective surgery on a weekly basis and will work to reschedule as soon possible.” 

This change does not affect surgeries scheduled to take place before July 16, 2020. Also, FWBMC and TCH will continue with urgent and emergent surgery. Low acuity surgeries that were scheduled on or after July 16, 2020 will be appropriately deferred at a surgeon’s discretion, hospital policy and in consultation with the patient. The deferred cases will be concentrated in low acuity and those that may require an overnight stay at the hospital. 

“Our team’s dedication to advanced planning, enhanced safety measures and consistent monitoring of COVID-19 impacts allows us to quickly shift gears to address the changing needs of our community. We will continue to assess those needs and make adjustments accordingly keeping the safety of our colleagues and patients top-of-mind,” said Mitch Mongell, CEO of FWB Medical Center.

Echoing that sentiment, Dave Whalen, CEO of Twin Cities Hospital also added “We highly encourage local residents to follow their community guidelines for maintaining physical distance, washing and sanitizing hands, and wearing face coverings to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We are grateful to those in the community who are helping us create healthier tomorrows by practicing these safety measures in their day-to-day lives.”

WATCH: Our previous interview with Chief Medical Officer of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center

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