JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The number of COVID-19 cases in North Florida continues to trend down, but that’s expected to change again soon as people continue traveling to and from the area for the holidays.
News4JAX on Wednesday checked in with local hospitals to see what is happening at those locations and went to several testing and vaccine sites to check if more people are taking precautions now because of the omicron variant.
Martin Johnson, 70, was at the vaccine and testing site at the Lane Wiley Senior Center on the Westside. He had open heart surgery in August and was getting a booster shot.
“I figure with my medical condition, with my heart and diabetes, I need as much protection as possible,” Johnson said.
According to Mia Jones, of Agape Health, which runs this site, they will be seeing more people like Johnson since the omicron variant is now in the United States.
“We are seeing more people come for the boosters especially as we hear more about the new variant. We anticipate that those numbers will continue to go up. We started to see a decline right before it, so I think we are on this wave,” Jones said.
Here is what local hospitals are seeing:
- At Baptist Health’s five hospitals, there were 19 COVID-19 cases, including five pediatric cases, as of Wednesday. Six of the cases were in the intensive care unit, including two pediatric cases.
- At UF Health, there were 11 cases in its two facilities as of Wednesday. Three were in the ICU.
- At Ascension St. Vincent’s facilities, there were four COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday.
Since the onset of the pandemic, much has changed in our area. While we are starting to revert back to normal, it’s likely it will never be how it once was before the pandemic.
“COVID has been such an unknown. It’s like every step we take with COVID, there’s a different change that takes place,” Jones said.
And that is why Johnson got his booster shot on Wednesday.
“I’m getting the booster so I don’t infect anybody else, and I wish other people would do the same thing,” Johnson said.
Agape Health says it has received funding to keep its two testing and booster sites open until the end of the year and possibly through January.