Friday, July 23, 2021

Florida's Covid Hospitalization Rate at Highest Point Since the Pandemic Started

It's Patricia Mazzei, at the New York Times, "Some Florida Hospitals Have More Covid Patients Than Ever Before":

MIAMI — A month ago, the number of Covid-19 patients admitted at two University of Florida hospitals in Jacksonville was down to 14. Now more than 140 people are hospitalized with the coronavirus, a tenfold increase over five weeks — and the highest number of Covid-19 patients this system has seen during the pandemic.

Debra Wells, 65, was among those admitted to one of the hospitals this month when what she thought was a cold grew worse and worse until she could not breathe. “I said, ‘Lord, I feel like I’m dying,’” she recalled.

Like most of the patients who hospital officials say they are admitting in Jacksonville and other fast-filling medical facilities in pockets around the country, Ms. Wells was unvaccinated. She had worried, she said, that the shots were not safe.

“I was misinformed,” Ms. Wells said this week, after a five-day hospital stay. “I wasn’t ready, and I was scared.”

A national uptick in coronavirus cases has led, in sudden and concerning fashion, to a steep rise in hospitalizations in some spots around the country where people have been slower to get vaccinated, a predicament experts hoped might be avoided because the people contracting the infection tend to be younger and healthier.

Nationally, hospitalizations remain relatively low, nowhere near earlier peaks of the pandemic. But in some regions with lagging vaccination rates and rising virus cases — such as northeastern Florida, southwestern Missouri and southern Nevada — the highly contagious Delta variant has flooded intensive care units and Covid-19 wards that, not long ago, had seen their patient counts shrink.

Covid-19 hospitalizations are trending upward in 45 states. While levels remain well below previous peaks, health care centers in parts of the Midwest, West and South are strained.

At the two hospitals in Jacksonville, the number of Covid-19 patients is higher than last summer, when the coronavirus slammed Florida, and higher than over the winter, when the virus surged to devastating levels across the nation.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Dr. Leon L. Haley Jr., the chief executive of UF Health Jacksonville. “Each day we continue to go up. There’s no sense of when things are going to curtail themselves. People are stretched thin.”

The situation is worrying across northeastern Florida...

Still more.