COVID-19 hospitalizations rising locally, statewide

Doctor concerned holiday gatherings will make situation even worse

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Florida and Duval County once again post near-record COVID-19 numbers, hospitalizations across the state continue to rise.

As of early Monday evening, 3,243 people in Florida were hospitalized with “primary” diagnoses of COVID-19, up from 3,118 on Sunday afternoon, according to Florida Agency for Health Care Administration numbers.

The increase came as Florida reported an additional 4,663 COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the overall total to 889,864 since the pandemic started, the state Department of Health reported on its website.

The spikes come a little more than a week away from Thanksgiving when many families and friends intend to gather despite the risks.

“It’s scary, very scary,” said Darcia Edwards, who was getting tested at the Legends Center in Northwest Jacksonville out of precaution.

COVID-19 testing sites across the area are busy.

“I know people that have tested positive and have passed away,” said Willie Gilbert Senior, who is getting tested because his wife has the virus and is in quarantine. “A lot of people are not taking this virus seriously. I look around town and people are not wearing their masks properly. Some that don’t have any at all. That’s what upsets me.”

Hospitalizations are rising again across the state and nation, and as cooler weather comes in, concerns are growing.

“I worked a shift last night and I can definitely say we’re seeing more cases of COVID-19,” said Matthew Thompson, M.D.

Thompson is co-founder of Telescope Health and an emergency department physician at Baptist Health.

“I haven’t seen any evidence of [hospitals] being actively overwhelmed right now, but I can tell you resources are limited on all fronts,” he told News4Jax. “And then if we continue in this trend, it makes sense that we will see an increased number of hospitalizations, more and more sick people who will require ICU stays and if we don’t curb this then we could quickly overwhelm the system.”

While specific hospitals aren’t noted, state data shows a county-by-county breakdown of current hospitalizations.

According to numbers compiled by the News Service of Florida, Miami-Dade County had the most COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday, with 465. It was followed by Broward County, with 284; Palm Beach County, with 235; Hillsborough County, with 224; Duval County, with 180; Orange County, with 163; Pinellas County, with 156; and Sarasota County, with 102.

Additionally, nearly 18,000 Floridians have died related to the coronavirus.

“Everybody wants to be over this and we all want to move past it, especially with the holidays coming around, I want some form of normalcy and so people are tired,” Thompson said.

Thompson said that’s why everyone needs to be extra careful, as Thanksgiving and other holidays are, unfortunately, opportunities for the virus to spread rapidly.

He noted that vaccine trials seem promising, especially with word of successful results from Phizer and Moderna. But he said they’re just studies and even if the vaccines are effective, it’ll be a long process producing and distributing the supplies.

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