Report: Tampa Bay has the resources to manage the coronavirus peak

Some pockets of the region may be at greater risk.

A new report from the Tampa Bay Partnership shows the region likely has the resources to withstand the worst stretch of the coronavirus pandemic.

The most recent models on the outbreak predict Florida will hit its peak on May 6.

At the height, UW Medicine’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts the state will see 128 deaths a day. An estimated 4,000 hospital beds and 1,700 ICU beds will also be needed.

The Tampa Bay Partnership delved into the public health metrics and found the region has sufficient resources to handle the surge, though some pockets may be at greater risk.

More testing data is available for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties — to date, the pair account for three-fifths of the 35,000 tests administered in the greater Tampa Bay region. The partnership said that could indicate some undercounting in Manatee, Polk and Sarasota.

Though the link isn’t concrete, hospitalization data supports their hypothesis. Manatee and Sarasota counties, with a combined population roughly half that of Hillsborough, have seen a near equal count of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Deaths have been disproportionately high in lower-population counties, too.

Still, hospitals have capacity. The region has largely remained above 40% since April 3, indicating that the expected COVID-19 spike has not yet hit the region.

ICU capacity is lower, but so is its utilization. The region, with an estimated 500 ICU beds, has steady at roughly 35% since April 3. ICU capacity has trending down in recent days, and smaller counties are seeing larger fluctuations.

The Tampa Bay Partnership produced the report in collaboration with Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, United Way Suncoast and USF Muma College of Business.

The full report is available online.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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