JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The much more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continues to rage across Florida, sending another 526 people to the hospital and increasing the state’s record-setting total of hospitalizations to 12,041.
Of those, 135 are pediatric patients statewide.
Locally, Ascension St. Vincent’s has joined the health systems now reporting COVID-19 patient data to the media.
In the first numbers Ascension provided on Wednesday, the hospital has reported 387 patients with COVID-19 and 108 of those are in the intensive care unit. Ascension said 98% of these patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated. We believe the approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any identified risks or side effects,” Ascension spokesperson Kyle Sieg said in a news release.
Baptist Health is also seeing an increase in ICU patients. It is currently treating 518 COVID-19 patients across its five hospitals -- with 102 of those in ICU.
Of those, 15 are patients at Wolfson Children’s Hospital with four of those children in ICU.
Of the 86 new COVID-19 positive patients admitted to Baptist Health hospitals on Tuesday, six were children.
According to Baptist, more than 90% of the current COVID patients age 12 or older in its hospitals have NOT been fully vaccinated.
UF Health Jacksonville is currently treating 236 COVID-19 patients at its campuses with 57 in ICU.
Other hospitals in the area have not provided their COVID-19 patient data to News4Jax.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday held a roundtable discussion with CEOs from health systems around Florida. No Jacksonville-area hospital leaders were included in the discussion, although Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry took part and said he speaks with Jacksonville’s hospital leaders regularly.
“Our hospitals are incredibly busy,” Curry said. “There’s a lot of discussion, a lot of people are afraid and panicking. From my perspective, the solution is to get vaccinated. I’m not suggesting we coerce or force or mandate people to get vaccinated. But we keep working together to educate them that the vaccine is effective, it will keep you out of the hospital and keep you from getting really, really sick.”
DeSantis has also encouraged people to get vaccinated, saying shots provide a strong defense against getting seriously ill.
“You can still test positive, but at the end of the day you can turn this from something that was much more threatening to a senior citizen, say, to something that is more manageable,” said DeSantis, who has been vaccinated. “That is a huge, huge thing.”
About 95% of those hospitalized and almost all recent deaths have been among the unvaccinated, hospital officials have said.
DeSantis said Tuesday that he expects hospitalizations to drop in the next couple weeks, asserting that the spike is seasonal as Floridians spend more time together indoors to escape the summer heat and humidity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases in the state over the last three days, raising the seven-day average to one of the highest counts since the pandemic began. In total, the state has seen more than 2.6 million cases and 39,179 deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.