(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) — A Florida police officer was supported by his fellow officers as he was flown out of the state for COVID-19 treatment due to a lack of availability in local hospitals, according to his wife.
Police officers lined the tarmac Wednesday as their colleague, West Palm Beach police officer Anthony Testa, was flown to Ohio.
In Ohio, Testa, who is on a ventilator, is expected to be placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, machine, which removes carbon dioxide from blood and sends back blood with oxygen to the body, allowing the heart and lungs time to rest and heal.
Amid a summer surge of COVID-19 brought on by the delta variant and low vaccination rates in the United States, doctors were not able to place Testa on an ECMO in Florida, according to his wife,
“He deserves this,” Janine Testa told “Good Morning America.” “He can fight and I know he will.”
In Florida, state statistics in late July showed virus-related hospitalizations are nearly at their highest point since the onset of the pandemic, with more than 1,200 COVID-19 patients being admitted to the hospital every day.
Now, 95% of the intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the state are full.
Some hospitals in the state are also running out of morgue space and using rented refrigerated trucks for bodies.
“Our morgues are just not designed to hold that many bodies,” Armando Llechu, chief officer of hospital operations at Florida’s Cape Coral hospital, told “GMA.” “This is not being exaggerated or blown out of proportion by the media. This is real.”
In West Palm Beach, as officers saw Officer Testa off for further treatment, they also mourned one of their own already lost to COVID-19.
Officer Robert Williams, with the force since 2001, died on Aug. 21 due to complications from COVID-19, the department shared on Twitter.
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