State data show no hospital beds in Columbia County

Data doesn’t show if bed shortage is due to COVID-19 cases or flu

News4JAX reporter Zac Lashway is taking a closer look at hospital capacity throughout Northeast Florida.

There are now more than 50.3 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and the number of infections in the United States just passed 10 million on Monday.

Nationwide, more than 237,000 people have died. Nearly 17,400 people have died with coronavirus in Florida.

With flu season upon us, health experts worry the two illnesses could lead to hospitals becoming overwhelmed. Some hospitals in Northeast Florida are already at a tipping point.

State data shows there were no available hospital beds at Columbia County’s only hospital on Monday. Elsewhere, like in Duval County, hundreds of beds are still available, although Flagler County showed more than 90% of its beds were full and Clay County hospitals were at about 80% of their capacity.

News4Jax surveyed hospitals in the area about their COVID-19 caseloads and none were anywhere near their peaks of hospitalizations from the virus in July and August.

This while news of Joe Biden’s win prompted people to take to the streets. Locally, two major sports events took place at TIAA Bank Stadium this past weekend. Looking at pictures from the events showing people without masks, Dr. Reza said it’s frightening to look at pictures from the events that show not everyone is wearing masks.

“It frightens me for the other people will come in contact with and how readily this virus is transmitted between people,” Infectious Disease Physician with CAN Community Health Jacksonville Mohammed Reza said.

Doctors say if COVID-19 or flu cases continue to climb, the number of available beds will drop. Getting the flu vaccine is one way to fight a disaster-scenario where hospitals become overwhelmed.

“It’s so important now to get the flu vaccine from now on. The thought process is if you get the vaccine, it protects you against the flu, so that would decrease your need to go into the hospital for the flu which would further exposing yourself to COVID as well as going to the store to get medications to treat your flu symptoms, for many as who can over 6-months-old can get the vaccine and really should at this point,” Dr. Reza said.

In the last 24 hours, in the 11 county region News4Jax monitors cases, 466 new cases of coronavirus were reported.

Find the latest coronavirus numbers, hospitalizations, and more information here.

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