Hurricane Michael arrived in Florida as devastating category 4 storm and created a path of destruction throughout the Panhandle with heavy rain, storm surge, tornado force winds and flooding. This happens in less than one month after Hurricane Florence hit Florida. Hurricane Michael is a category 3 storm traveling at 120 miles per hour. It is expected that it will cover over 300 miles of the Gulf Coast when it hits on Wednesday.
Many hospitals, clinics, and health care agencies are taking the necessary preparations against Hurricane Michael. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations have already been issued in 16 counties in Florida. More than 3.7 millions people have taken heed of the hurricane warning. The evacuation orders are issued to residents in Florida, Alabama and southern Georgia.
Anna Saunders who works as a communications strategist at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare said that they have prepared an ample supply of food and water so they don’t have to evacuate any patient. They have also prepared generators in case there is power outage. All elective surgeries are also postponed in Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.
Sacred Heart Hospital in Emerald Coast has moved most of its patients to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola by ambulance or helicopter. This is a routine of the hospital when there is a mandatory evacuation. Sacred Heart Hospital is situated in a mandatory evacuaton area in South Walton County. South Walton County is located between Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico where it is expected to experience a powerful storm surge from the hurricane. Bridges near to the Sacred Heart Hospital will also be closed.
Sacred Heart Hospital in Emerald Coast also has been admitting patients on Tuesday afternoon. The hospital along with the local Medical Group and outpatient offices will be closed until Thursday. Only the emergency department will be opened. The emergency department will cooperate with EMS to see patients in true emergency conditions. Patients with minor injuries will not be entertained.
Flowers Hospitals have also rescheduled the outpatient procedures that are to take place on Wednesday. Visitation for hours is not allowed but those staying with the patients will not be asked to leave. Flowers Hospital will be resuming operation on Thursday. The emergency clinic on U.S. Highway 98 will be closed.
Fort Walton Beach Medical Center will not close down but resume operation in the hurricane weather. All the entrances to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center will be closed but patient will still be able to visit the hospital through the emergency entrance. The clinics opened by Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County will be closed.
All White-Wilson Medical Center locations and Magnolia Medical Clinic in Fort Walton Beach are closing starting on Wednesday. The outpatient clinics run by the Department of Veterans Affairs Gulf Coast Health Care System will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.