JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On Monday, there continued to be long lines of people being tested for the novel coronavirus at Lot J.
News4Jax checked with people at the end of the line around 10:30 a.m. Two of them said they waited over an hour and gave up, but a third person said it took three-and-a-half hours just to get a swab test. The wait for an antibody blood test, we were told, is even longer.
It’s the increase in testing like this that Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said is causing the county’s positive number of COVID-19 cases to increase. Just in the last five days, the city has seen record-high one-day totals.
But with the latest surge, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said most people are not going to the hospital.
During a Monday press conference, Curry took issue with reports regarding hospitals and full ICU beds when in fact only a very small number of those beds have COVID-19 patients.
Curry said Monday there are 14 patients in ICU’s around Jacksonville.
“My team and I personally get this information verbally via phone calls with local hospital leadership due to HIPAA rules and proprietary information we are unable to publish individual data media can contact our local hospitals to independently verify this information,” Curry said.
So News4Jax did just that, contacting the five major hospitals in Jacksonville. Most could not give us an answer but here is what we learned from some:
- At Baptist Medical Center, at their five hospitals, there are only 18 coronavirus patients, none in ICU
- At UF Health, they were treating 15 patients but they could not tell us how many of them are in intensive care
- Other facilities have not returned our calls or say that information is not public
“Reporting a rise in cases is fair and accurate, suggesting people are sick in ICU is not,” Curry said. “Hospitals do have contingency plans to expand beds should that become necessary.”
According to the Agency for Health Care Administration of Florida, there are 132 available adult ICUs in Duval County, over 30% of total capacity.
The latest number today of positive cases released by the state, while not a record high, is still showing the virus is among us and spreading among young and healthy adults.