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Doctor: Baptist Health not ‘overrun’ by coronavirus cases

Jacksonville's hospitals are currently treating a combined 530 coronavirus patients

File photo (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP)
File photo (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP) (Star Tribune)

As coronavirus continues to spread in Florida, the state has begun releasing current hospitalization data for those receiving treatment for symptoms of COVID-19.

But even as the Florida Department of Health provides figures on the number of people being treated in each county, that data does not specify how many patients each hospital has.

Instead, the result is a rough sense of the number of cases in each county in which patients’ symptoms were severe enough to require a trip to the hospital.

The Florida Department of Health reported 12,624 additional cases Monday, bringing the total to 282,435 cases statewide since the agency began tracking infections in March.

In Duval County, the state reported 506 additional cases and three more deaths, which means Jacksonville has seen 84 virus-related deaths. The county currently has 530 hospitalizations.

While some Jacksonville-area hospitals are releasing their own statistics, that’s not true across the board.

Baptist Health reported 158 coronavirus patients between its five locations, 32 of them in the intensive care unit. UF Health Jacksonville said it has 111 patients, 27 of them in the ICU.

News4Jax spoke with Dr. Elizabeth Ransom of Baptist Health, who said Baptist’s facilities are not swamped by COVID-19 cases even if they’re seeing a noticeable increase.

“We are not overrun right now, thankfully. We are definitely continuing to see increases in volume,” said Ransom, who acknowledged the growing numbers are “very concerning.”

She said while the numbers continue to rise, which is not the trend healthcare workers want to see, many of the incoming patients have less severe symptoms than when they got sick.

“Many of the patients that we are seeing that do require hospitalization are not as sick as they were at the outset of this,” Ransom said. “So the proportion of patients in our intensive care unit isn’t as high. But if that starts to change and we start to see more older and more patients with chronic diseases and those who are very vulnerable, that could certainly start to increase as well.”

Numbers from the rest of Jacksonville’s hospitals were not available as of Monday afternoon.

In neighboring St. Johns County, Flagler Hospital disclosed its figures, saying there are 27 confirmed cases at the hospital including nine patients in the ICU.

The hospitalization data comes as Jacksonville ramps up access to testing with three new sites opening across town and a goal of testing up to 5,000 people a day. Both Gov. Ron DeSantis and Mayor Lenny Curry have tied the growing number of cases to the expansion of testing.

The primary federal site is moving from Lot J outside of TIAA Bank Field, where it has been for months, to the former Sears store at the Regency Square Mall.

Below is a county-by-county breakdown of hospitalizations:

CountyCOVID-19 Hospitalizations
St. Johns36

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.