Mayor, health care leaders encourage vaccinations as COVID-19 cases surge – WJXT News4JAX


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – “The outcomes are clear. The pictures work,” Mayor Lenny Curry mentioned Wednesday throughout a information convention to deal with a current surge in COVID-19 instances.

Based on leaders from Jacksonville’s hospitals, who joined Curry on the digital information convention, almost all the sufferers being admitted for coronavirus haven’t been absolutely vaccinated.

“My total message to the residents of Jacksonville… is that this, please get the vaccine,” Curry mentioned.

He was joined in that plea by the CEOS of UF Well being Jacksonville, Mayo Clinic, Baptist, Ascension and Brooks Rehabilitation, and the manager officer of Naval Hospital Jacksonville.

Every of them described a spike in instances at their amenities which can be at or close to the best ranges they’ve seen throughout the pandemic.

RELATED: Newly reported COVID-19 instances in Jacksonville double in 1 week | Higher Jacksonville driving Florida’s COVID-19 surge

In Duval County, the Division of Well being studies 403,552 individuals are vaccinated, or about 50% of the eligible inhabitants, in comparison with 58% of individuals vaccinated statewide. Knowledge present there are 109,603 recognized instances of the virus in Duval and a couple of,406,809 in Florida.

Curry mentioned about 800 individuals are at the moment hospitalized in Duval County with the virus.

“That’s a heavy load on our docs, our nurses, all of our well being care staff,” Curry mentioned.

Curry inspired anybody in search of a vaccine to go to and kind of their ZIP code to discover a vaccine provided close by. He mentioned the system lets you kind by sort of shot, so you may select whether or not you’re getting Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccines accessible at a whole bunch of web sites in Northeast Florida

Regardless of the spike in instances, Curry mentioned he is not going to be implementing any stay-at-home restrictions or reinstating town’s masks mandate.

“There may be vital financial and well being danger related to shutting down our economic system and locking folks of their properties. We have now a vaccine now that’s efficient. Hospitals are full and busy due to unvaccinated folks. The answer right here is to get the vaccine,” Curry mentioned. “Shutting down our economic system, locking our children of their properties, in my opinion is just not the reply. We have now a vaccine that’s efficient, so let’s go get it executed.”

Dr. Kent Thielin, CEO of Mayo Clinic, mentioned the explanation instances are larger now than earlier than a vaccine was accessible is due to the delta variant.

“It’s extremely contagious. Excessive viral masses. Simply unfold, so it’s simpler to unfold amongst those that usually are not vaccinated,” Thielen mentioned. “There’s a small proportion the place we’re seeing breakthrough instances (of those that are vaccinated). That’s why we’re contributing to related ranges of hospitalizations to what we had when there wasn’t the delta variant.”

Push to increase vaccination rates
Push to extend vaccination charges

Dr. Timothy Groover, chief medical officer of Baptist Well being, mentioned along with principally being unvaccinated sufferers, the surge in coronavirus instances can be shifting the demographics of the pandemic.

“Again in March of 2020, we have been viewing this as a illness of older adults, particularly these with power medical situations, however as we speak, we’re seeing those that are in any other case younger and wholesome find yourself in our hospitals and even in our ICU on ventilators,” Groover mentioned.

He mentioned over the previous month at Baptist, 44% of the hospital’s COVID sufferers have been of their 40s or youthful and most have been beforehand wholesome.

The CEOs of UF Well being Jacksonville and Ascension reported related shifts, because the median ages of their COVID sufferers skew youthful than they’ve seen beforehand within the pandemic.

“It’s a youthful demographic who usually are not getting vaccinated and sadly are contracting COVID and people instances are requiring hospitalization for remedy,” mentioned Tom VanOsdol, president and CEO of Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast.

UF Well being Jacksonville CEO Dr. Leon Haley mentioned his hospitals’ COVID-19 instances have tripled in simply weeks, going from 45 instances two weeks in the past to 75 instances final week to 136 energetic sufferers as of Wednesday morning.

“Ninety % of our hospitalized sufferers proper now are unvaccinated and we’ve seen extra deaths within the final two weeks than we’ve seen in lots of months,” Haley instructed The Morning Present on Wednesday. “ … All of them are unvaccinated.”

In the course of the information convention, Haley mentioned 5% of the COVID-19 sufferers at UF Well being Jacksonville began the vaccination course of however didn’t end it, which means they solely obtain one dose in the event that they acquired the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

“And we’re seeing a small proportion of individuals which can be vaccinated, so it’s doable for folks to show optimistic with having had the vaccine, however they’re hospitalized at a a lot decrease price, and we’re seeing a major lower of their sickness in addition to their deaths,” Haley mentioned.

UF Health Jacksonville & Covid-19
UF Well being Jacksonville & Covid-19

Doug Baer, president and CEO of Brooks Rehabilitation, mentioned the stress on the hospital staffs is critical, significantly contemplating it felt just like the pandemic may need been nearing an finish.

“It’s now very disheartening for all of us to expertise these spikes in instances in hospitals, particularly realizing that they may very well be prevented by extra folks getting vaccinated,” Baer mentioned. “Please get vaccinated when you’ve got not been. And keep secure.”

The hospital leaders confirmed they’re making modifications to their visitation insurance policies and a few are suspending elective procedures to take care of the added workload.

To assist preserve sufferers and employees secure, UF Well being Jacksonville is permitting one customer per affected person at a time.

Due to the rise in instances and hospitalizations regionally and throughout the state, different native hospitals are additionally altering their visitation insurance policies.

  • Baptist Well being says with 253 COVID-19 sufferers hospitalized throughout its 5 areas, and 59 of them within the Intensive Care Unit, it’s additionally proscribing the variety of folks in its amenities to 1 customer per affected person, and so they should put on a masks no matter their vaccine standing. Final week, Baptist introduced some elective surgical procedures have been on maintain to handle hospital capability.
  • Mayo Clinic sufferers are allowed one customer and are requested that they be vaccinated. Nevertheless, COVID-19 sufferers usually are not allowed to have guests.
  • Memorial Hospital says it’s additionally permitting just one customer at a time.

Infectious illness specialist Dr. Mohammed Reza mentioned the vaccine protects folks towards the delta variant, which is answerable for the current surge — with almost 88% effectiveness after the second dose of Pfizer.

Sadly, Haley mentioned, hospital employees are being stretched skinny as a result of there’s vaccine hesitancy amongst employees members.

“We’re going one-on-one. We’re asking lots of our vaccinated employees to speak to unvaccinated college and employees on a one-by-one foundation to dispel all of the myths. We simply taped a city corridor with many leaders and specialists that we’re going to present to our employees this week. We’re taking it day-to-day, second by second to vary the way in which folks take into consideration this,” Haley mentioned.

He mentioned within the meantime, of us want to think about returning to sporting face masks and following social distancing protocols.

“We have now a manner by way of this, however we’re going to should depend on our medical specialists and scientific leaders and assist them proceed to transmit the message in regards to the security of the vaccine,” Haley mentioned. “If we don’t do that and the virus continues to mutate and comes up with the following pressure, we may very well be in for even worse.”

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