COVID-19 is ravaging Florida generally and Northeast Florida especially, and a leading official at one hospital wonders where the state is with reinforcements.
Chad Neilsen, UF Health Jax’s director of infection prevention, says that the patient surge at crisis levels last week only got worse over the weekend. And the state of Florida’s response? “You’re on your own.”
“We’re up to 174 covid patients admitted this AM. ~20% increase from Friday. City says we’d help if we could but lack manpower and no public health emergency declared. So, Jax hospitals are bursting at the seams with Covid pts, short staffed and State says: you’re on your own,” Neilsen tweeted Monday.
A second tweet made sure to separate city response from that of the state of Florida: “And to be clear: City officials are being very supportive, but they are facing similar issues too.”
Neilsen’s dire messaging continues a streak of increasingly urgent communications from UF Health Jax, which included a press call last week with the now departed Dr. Leon Haley, who in his last public acts warned about what the virus was doing to the hospital’s capacity to handle patient load.
“The numbers are frightening,” Haley said, noting that vaccinations didn’t happen quickly enough to stop this latest surge.
The patients now coming in sick are younger, largely unvaccinated, and poor.
The average age of patients is 52. Three of five patients are male, and 50% are African American. Two of the poorest zip codes in the city, 32208 and 32209, are seeing the worst of it. And growth is on a “straight line,” with more patients now than even the peak of the crisis last year. Most of that growth came in the last couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Health‘s latest stats speak to the regional impact of the pandemic. In Baker, Clay, Duval, and Nassau counties, over 1 in 4 COVID-19 tests last week were positive.
Expect political opponents to hammer Gov. Ron DeSantis on this issue. Gubernatorial candidates Rep. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried have contended the Governor has failed in pandemic leadership.
We’re up to 174 covid patients admitted this AM. ~20% increase from Friday. City says we’d help if we could but lack manpower and no public health emergency declared. So, Jax hospitals are bursting at the seams with Covid pts, short staffed and State says: you’re on your own.
— Chad Neilsen (@MajEbola) July 26, 2021