By: Jen Russon
In a city commission meeting that blended medical counsel into its agenda, City Manager Frank Babinec and members of Broward Health Coral Springs provided updates and statistics regarding public health during the pandemic.
In an overview of measures taken to flatten the curve on COVID-19, Frank Babinec commended the community, his staff, colleagues, and healthcare workers for making a difference in the numbers of infected residents.
“I would say the cases in Florida and our area were really predicted to do something different than what they’re doing. Although the numbers are high and continue to go up slightly, it could have been a lot worse.”
He added that since the beginning of April, statewide coronavirus cases hovered around 1,200-1,300 per day; however, over the last week, that number has been scaled down to between 1,000-1,000 new cases daily.
Babinec said that in the last three days, there were between 500-600 Floridians per day determined by their doctors to have COVID-19. While expanded testing is predicted to make those figures rise, Babinec indicated that, overall, the numbers were encouraging and that social distancing, hand washing, and facial masks and covering are helping to flatten the curve.
Jared Smith, CEO of Broward Health concurred with the city manager, saying that the healthcare system in Coral Springs is prepared to meet this crisis. Models Broward Health has looked at for new COVID-19 cases are under the number of ICU beds, PPE, and ventilators they have on hand.
Smith shared the good news that testing at Broward Health Coral Springs can provide test results for COVID-19 in as little as 15 minutes.
Smith’s three colleagues, Broward Health physicians, doctors Pepe, Antevy, and Lai, each said that although the numbers are looking good, residents must continue the city’s collaborative effort to continue social distancing until the curve flattens to zero.
Antevy said plasma donations could help people beat Coronavirus, and encouraged residents to donate both blood and plasma in the coming weeks. Red Cross is one of several health organizations that purport one plasma donation that can be used to help three COVID-19 patients.
On the city mandate that all residents must wear masks in a social setting where maintaining a safe distance from others is not possible, Babinec said masks are still required in Coral Springs.
The commission meeting made clear that Big Box stores are authorized to continue receiving shipments of goods at any time that works for them, as well-stocked stores make it easier for everyone to follow social distancing rules.
So far as being able to let up on social distancing, the commission meeting said the worst is yet to come.
Data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine has predicted the week of May 3 as the deadliest peak in COVID-19 cases.
“We’ve blunted the curve, slowed the progression, and protected the hospital system, but our peak is still not there yet, and when we ride that peak down, we still need to be very careful when we’re out in public,” Dr. Pepe said.
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