JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In just one day, COVID-19 cases at Jacksonville hospitals have seen a notable increase, News4Jax learned Wednesday.
Now, hospitals are pulling back on some surgeries previously scheduled for other patients.
Hospitals said most of the new patients are much sicker than those seen during the peak of the pandemic. The majority, health officials say, have the Delta variant.
Doctors said the recent outbreak of coronavirus cases is getting worse and they want local residents to take precautions because in many cases there are no longer mask or social distancing mandates around Florida.
At Baptist Health the hospital beds are filling up with coronavirus patients.
As of Wednesday morning, 179 people were hospitalized and 33 were in the ICU. That’s a 23% increase over Tuesday when 145 people were hospitalized.
“We are working with our surgeons to manage the number of elective surgical procedures that require overnight admission to the hospital,” Baptist Health wrote in a statement to News4Jax. “It is very important to note that many patients are still able to have their procedures as originally scheduled, while others who have been contacted by their surgeon will be given a new surgery date.”
At UF Health Jacksonville there is a similar problem.
In one day, the hospital saw a 15% increase in COVID-19 patients. It now has 70 patients with 20 in the ICU, and there are another 40 in the hospital suspected of having the coronavirus.
UF Health has not canceled or postponed surgeries yet, but it could happen soon.
“Day by day we’re having meetings with our surgeons to review whether or not we need to pause elective surgeries,” said Chad Neilsen, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at UF Health.
Neilsen said most of those coming into the hospital have the Delta variant and he is worried many of them may not be walking out.
“It’s also going to increase our numbers of COVID mortalities because when those numbers in the hospital rise that is followed normally by a two-week period of mortality,” he said.
News4Jax also checked with other hospitals that have been reluctant to release information about their COVID-19 numbers.
For now, elective surgeries at Mayo, Memorial, St. Vincents and Orange Park Medical Center will continue.
While some like UF Health still limit the number of visitors, allowing two at a time, now it is also questioning people before they are allowed to enter. The hospital also requires a mask even for those who have been vaccinated.