New technology allows COVID patients to recover at home

At least 10 percent of Hillsborough County's 1.4 million residents have been tested for COVID-19, according to new data released by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor during a Facebook live update Wednesday.

Tampa General Hospital is an epicenter for treating some of the Bay's areas most severe cases of COVID-19. Nearly 4 months into the pandemic, there's a new push to get more patients with less severe cases out and recovering back home.

"I can't just admit all these patients to the ER and to internal medicine folks because they will be overwhelmed and so what we've done is we've come up with very innovative safe strategies to determine who needs to come into the hospital, who needs to come into the hospital into the ICU and who could potentially go home," Tampa General Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Jason Wilson said.

It's all in an effort to free up staffing, free up bed space, limit exposure and reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading. As Dr. Wilson explains, advancements in biomedical technology is making it possible for more patients to recover at home.

"We've come up with some pretty good strategies of sending people home with some bio-technology wearables so we have some devices that we apply to the patient. They go home and they're monitored 24 hours a day," Wilson said.

The devices are able to track a patient's heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and how much oxygen they're breathing in. Most importantly, the readings coming in can provide doctors with early warnings signs if patient is getting sicker.

"We're trying to send as many people home as possible and do it safely because we're having more and more every day that need to be admitted for oxygen and other things for COVID," Wilson said.