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“We’re nowhere near the peak of where we were”: Public health official speaks on rise in COVID hospitalizations

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:59 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - As the Delta variant of COVID-19 becomes more common, some hospitals are seeing an increase in COVID patients.

While some hospitals in Florida are hitting capacity again, one public health official said the numbers do not suggest hospitals in North Central Florida will experience the same problem.

Paul Myers, with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County, said the upward trend in hospitalizations is mainly due to one thing.

“Probably more than 90% of the people who are being hospitalized share one thing in common, and that’s that they are not vaccinated.”

Myers said in Alachua County hospitals were never overrun, and he does not expect it to happen in the near future.

He said while the numbers are increasing, “we’re nowhere near the peak of where we were back in January and February.”

At last word, UF Health Shands had 99 hospitalizations. That means 9.7% of their hospital beds are occupied by COVID patients.

In a statement from North Florida Regional Medical Center, a spokesperson said:

“At this time, we have the bed capacity, staffing, supplies and equipment we need and our advanced planning ensures we can continue to meet the needs of the communities we serve as the situation evolves. Our hospital continues to practice the same mitigation strategies we have used throughout the pandemic to protect those in our care, including universal masking for all in our facilities and designated care areas for COVID-positive patients.”

Myers said he hopes this spike makes people realize how important it is to get vaccinated.

“I do agree that this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated because that’s what the numbers are showing, there’s no denying that,” he said.

The data from AdventHealth Ocala seems to agree. Of all COVID patients being treated there, the Delta variant is the most prominent strain doctors are seeing in the system.

Myers said he wants to remind people that an uptick in COVID hospitalizations should not turn someone away from getting any other medical care they need.

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