Local hospital leader goes to Florida to help with surge in COVID hospitalizations


DENVER (KDVR) — The associate chief nursing officer at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children just returned from a week-long trip to Florida where she was able to help a sister HCA Healthcare hospital with the surge in COVID hospitalizations.

Laura-Anne Cleveland hopes she was able to provide some assistance and some relief for providers there.

“It’s really important that you are able to take a little bit of a breather, and take a step back, and that your world isn’t all about incident command and COVID relief,” she said.

This week there are nearly 16,000 people hospitalized in Florida with COVID. 

“Within this hospital, there was over a hundred COVID positive patients. Many, many of those are on ventilators,” she said.

Cleveland worked in incident command, rounding on units, making sure there was enough staff, enough ventilators, enough oxygen, and enough space for patients. 

“It really became a matter of finding other areas that you could use as an ICU,” she said. 

After her work in Florida, Cleveland says she is bringing back a few ideas for her hospitals.

“How do we handle surges, and how do we staff them? How do we ensure there are supplies and staff for them?” she said. 

Cleveland points out the vaccination rate in Colorado is higher than it is in Florida, so she does not predict the same number of hospitalizations will happen here. 

But she says Colorado is experiencing its own lower-level surge, and she hopes Coloradans will continue to get vaccinated and use masks.

“Our numbers are going to go up over the next couple of weeks, but I don’t predict seeing anything to the nature of what we saw in Florida,” Cleveland said. 

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