Covid-19 cases stay high, hospitalizations drop in Florida
Miami, Florida — According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 15,488 patients with COVID-19 are tailed in Florida hospitals, an 8% decrease over the past week. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report a 7-day average of 21,489 new cases per day in the state, not far from its recent peak of 21,761.
“It looks like if that holds we are on the downslope right now, but it’s been a very unpredictable virus,” said Justin Senior, CEO of the Florida Safety Net Hospital Alliance, which represents some of the largest hospitals in the state. “Overall, the state is still really elevated … but I think it’s heading in the right direction.”
The numbers at Jackson Memorial Hospital are also slowly trickling down, although Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hany Atallah remained on alert. “Definitely don’t let down your guard. We are not out of the woods yet,” he said, noting that when the vaccinated stopped wearing masks, the unvaccinated followed, and soon there wasn’t social distancing or washing of hands.
Dr. Hany Atallah said that 90% of their covid patients are unvaccinated. “Please keep wearing your masks, please get vaccinated. These are things we know that work, hand washing, social distancing … We’ve got to be diligent about this.”
According to Dr. Hany Atallah, with the delta variant, regular covid patients are being hospitalized for about five days, whereas the typical ICU covid patient was admitted for around 15 days.
Freeing up ICU beds for non-covid cases is critical as many hospitals across the state have postponed nonemergency surgeries for the past four to five weeks. Experts say those need to resume in the coming weeks to prevent those patients from ending up in the emergency rooms.
Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continued his state tour Monday touting the use of monoclonal antibodies as a treatment for those who get sick with covid-19 and to relieve pressure on hospitals. More than 30,000 people received antibodies at 21 state sites over the past two weeks. But DeSantis complained of resistance from some in the medical community. “Had this been promoted better, I think you would have kept a lot of people out of the hospitals and saved a lot of lives,” he said.
Health officials urged patients at higher risk of severe covid illness to get the antibody treatment immediately after testing positive instead of waiting until they are extremely sick. The drugs are supposed to be given within 10 days of initial symptoms when they’ve been shown to cut rates of hospitalization and death.