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Baptist South hospital opens expansion unit with 20 beds to care for COVID patients

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Duval County, and local hospitals are starting to get overwhelmed.
COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Duval County, and local hospitals are starting to get overwhelmed.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hospital leaders across Jacksonville have been warning about the influx of COVID-19 patients that have been flooding their facilities -- most connected to the highly contagious delta variant.

They say most of the new surge of coronavirus patients are unvaccinated.

On Saturday, News4Jax learned Baptist South off Old St. Augustine Road opened 20 additional beds in a Care Expansion Unit this week because of the increase in COVID-19 patients at Baptist Health hospitals.

“The need for additional beds was anticipated by our Epidemic Response Plan, which allows us to prepare for predicted surges in patient volumes,” Baptist Health said in a statement.

As of about 4 p.m. Saturday, Baptist reported 346 COVID patients at its five campuses -- 80 of those are in ICU, and UF Health reported 154 patients at its facilities.

The expanded unit at Baptist South is run as a COVID ward. All suspected or confirmed COVID patients in Baptist Health hospitals are isolated from other patients.

Baptist Health said more than 97% of the COVID patients being hospitalized in its facilities have not been vaccinated.

A spokesperson for Baptist Health said the unit is in a shell space at Baptist South that has walls, windows, an HVAC system and restrooms, but no interior improvements or finishes.

Baptist South opens 20 additional beds as a COVID ward. (WJXT)

Vaccination clinics also continued Saturday. There were clinics at the Gateway Transit Hub Vaccination Site as well as the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Staff members said vaccination demand was down Saturday.

RELATED: Where to get a COVID-19 vaccine this weekend

Doctors continue to say the way to slow the spread of this virus is to get vaccinated.

About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.