Fewer COVID-19 patients in hospitals, but length of stay increasing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The number of people treated in hospitals statewide for the coronavirus continued a two-week decline, with 7,622 patients late Wednesday morning -- a decrease of 175 from the previous day and down from highs of 9,500 two weeks ago.

But a Jacksonville hospital physician said that she is seeing a trend that’s not positive -- the patients are slightly older and they’re staying longer.

Statewide data show that the average age of patients one month ago was 20s to 30s. The average patient age has risen to 40s.

“We have noticed that our overall numbers of cases that we are seeing coming through the emergency room is slightly decreasing. We are also noticing that our patients are staying a little bit longer,” said Dr. Elizabeth Ransom of Baptist Health. “The second phase was generally are younger population and weren’t as sick and the length of stay and shorter than what we saw on the initial phase. That has crept up slightly.”

Ransom said they are keeping a close eye on the trends, but haven’t drawn any conclusions.

There were concerns that younger, healthier people who became infected could pass it on to those more vulnerable.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and his emergency management team get daily briefings on hospital capacity. He is concerned about the recent increase in COVID-19 deaths and said we need to stay vigilant.

“Short of a lockdown, short of shutting businesses down, shutting down elective surgeries, locking kids in their homes, we are going to have to learn to navigate this -- which is why we been advocating mask with the mask mandate social distancing, etc.” Curry said.

Ramson said the same thing, but believes the next two weeks will be important to see if we’ve turned a corner on the mid-summer spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

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