TALLAHASSEE – As of Tuesday morning, a record 11,515 Floridians were hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Hospitals are reporting younger and healthier patients than in previous waves. Florida COVID hospitalizations grew by more than 1,100 overnight.
At Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, 66 of the 70 COVID patients were unvaccinated.
“We’re dealing with something that could have been prevented,” said Dr. Dean Watson.
And hospital officials said the demographics of the patients they’re seeing are quite different than they’d seen in past waves.
“It’s now attacking a younger population, individuals that are on the surface healthier,” said Ryan Smith, the hospital’s chief clinical officer.
Mary Mayhew, president of the Florida Hospital Association, said the entire state is seeing a similar trend.
“It is absolutely attacking younger individuals more aggressively and putting them in the hospital than previous COVID,” said Mayhew.
According to the CDC, 60 Floridians are dying a day from COVID.
While that’s about three times what was seen at the start of July, it’s significantly lower then the almost 200 Floridians who were dying each day in last year’s summer and winter spikes.
“Hopefully, we will not see the rate of deaths as we experienced in the previous surges,” said Mayhew.
As for how long this new wave will last, some medical professionals are looking to data coming out of the United Kingdom, which was hit by the delta variant about a month before the U.S. began seeing cases spike.
“They’re trending down now. We hope to see a trend down over the next four to five weeks,” said Watson.
And as cases and hospitalizations have increased, the state has seen an uptick in Floridians getting vaccinated. More than 330,000 got a shot last week.
Currently, 61% of eligible Floridians have gotten at least one shot of the COVID vaccine.