Baptist Health seeing an ‘all-time high’ of COVID-19 hospitalizations

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a statement Tuesday, Baptist Health’s president and CEO says Northeast Florida has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, “but it’s never been as bad as it is now.”

Michael Mayo, Baptist’s CEO, writes that the company’s hospitals are seeing an all-time high of COVID-19-related hospitalizations. He said on Tuesday, the number of patients hospitalized at Baptist hospitals for COVID surpassed 400.

“Though this figure changes daily, the percentage of unvaccinated patients has consistently stayed above 97% during this surge,” Mayo writes.

Baptist Health Jacksonville said in a tweet that on Tuesday it was treating a total of 418 COVID-19 patients in its network of hospitals (up from the 386 it reported Monday) and that 85 were in intensive care (up from 82). Of those cases, 18 were at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, where six patients were in intensive care.

Phil Gaby is the director of strategic sourcing for Baptist Health. Typically, he does contracting negotiations.

But now, as hospitalizations soar, he’s helping out at Baptist South’s emergency room on a nightly basis.

“You know, our traditional people who were in the EDS nightly, it’s putting a strain on them. So, you know, there’s a call of action within our health system,” Gaby said. “It’s two to three per shift that we come in at all different times on a 24-hour basis.”

There are also volunteers who work in IT, accounting and analytics.

Gaby said he’s also been helping transport patients, helping turnover room, deliver food and get patients pillows and blankets.

“We’re there to provide support and alleviate some of the noise from the frontline caregivers to let them focus on patient care,” Gaby said.

UF Health Jacksonville has also said it’s dealing with a surge of COVID patients. As of Monday, it had 175 patients hospitalized with the virus, 50 of whom were in intensive care.

Chad Neilsen, with UF Health Jacksonville, tweeted Tuesday evening that hospitalizations were “skyrocketing.”

Dr. Mohammed Reza, an immunologist, has said the delta variant is preying on the young and healthy.

“My pediatric colleagues are saying they’re seeing a lot more pediatric population in the hospitals, both because of how much more contagious and how much more infectious this variant is,” he said. “If I get infected with the delta variants, I’m producing about 1,000 times more viral particles in my lungs.”