JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dr. Mohammed Reza, a Jacksonville infectious disease specialist, said he is seeing an increase in hospital admissions because of COVID-19 infections.
“A pretty dramatic increase,” Reza told News4Jax on Sunday. “It’s just been so daunting the amount of the work we are having to do. Last night, I worked a 14-hour shift, and we saw close to 17 admissions into the hospital.”
Reza said the uptick is driven mostly by the Delta variant.
“It’s almost like that alpha variant, like the variant in the U.K. (United Kingdom) on steroids. This variant is 40 to 60 times more transmissible, and it divides more rapidly when people do have this virus. This was the variant initially found in India,” Reza explained.
Reza said a local lab is conducting tests on COVID-19 cases.
“They sequenced about 17 people who have this virus in the Jacksonville area, and 15 of those came back positive for the Delta variant -- the more contagious variant,” Reza said.
When asked whether he’s fearful there will be another wave of COVID-19 infections, Reza said: “This is kind of where we see the disconnect of what we are seeing in the hospitals and the rest of the community, and everybody catching up to it to some extent.”
He added: “Hence why my colleagues are exhausted, sick literally from this virus. We are seeing a good number of first-line people getting infected with this variant, too, and it’s people who are fully vaccinated. That’s the concerning part.”
Reza said a large number of area hospital admissions are people who have not been vaccinated.
In Florida, according to the state Department of Health, 58% of the population age 12 and older has had at least one COVID-19 shot. In Duval County, the Florida Department of Health said, 48% of the population age 12 and older has had at least one COVID-19 shot.
“My recommendation at this point is to use judgment, get vaccinated first and foremost,” Reza said. “In Duval County, we are a very low rate of overall vaccination.”
Reza encourages people to get vaccinated and to continue to wear masks when among crowds in confined areas.