Have We Reached the COVID Peak?

Cases in Coral Gables are Beginning to Level Off – But Don’t Let Your Guard Down

To say that 240 new cases of the coronavirus in a week in Coral Gables is good news is a little sad. Compared to the early months of the pandemic – in March and April 2020, when new cases were running at 20 to 30 per week – 240 is a huge number. But compared to 351 cases in the first post-holiday week of the New Year, that third week total does not look so bad.

That is good news for medical resources in the Gables, where the ICU at Doctors Hospital reached 90 percent capacity in mid-January. That percentage is now beginning to drop. “As of this week [ending Jan. 24] we are discharging more patients than we are admitting,” says Doctors CEO Javier Hernandez-Lichtl. “It seems we are trending in the right direction, but we can’t let our guard down.”

Even better news is that the number of patients dying from the virus, per capita, is also dropping, as Doctors and other hospitals are developing better therapies.

Have We Reached the COVID Peak?
Javier Hernandez-Lichtl, CEO of Doctors Hospital

One big advance is the transfer of antibody rich plasma from people who have had the virus – “plasma convalescence” for patients in serious condition – an area where Baptist Health (of which Doctors is part) has been a leader. Doctors is also having great success administering monoclonal antibodies to people who test positive but have yet to develop severe symptoms; the injection can forestall the infection.

“Every day is a different challenge,” says Hernandez-Lichtl. “But the federal government is now taking a greater a role in working with the states … so I am optimistic that we are going to make progress.” Needless to say, the vaccines being administered by Baptist and others should also start to show results in the coming months.