‘You’re on your own’: UF Health says state isn’t helping with COVID-19 surge
UF Health Jacksonville.

uf health jacksonville trauma
Hospitals are 'bursting at the seams' in Northeast Florida.

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.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


  • Brenda

    July 26, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Put more word out,making people realize that if u are positive for covid u need to stay home, i know for a fact people are still going out to the stores an nail salons, because my sisters friend is positive an she went to the nail salon an stores an everything an had just gotten a positive test , her work said dont come back for 2 weeks, u would think that would kick her common sense in an she would realize that u cant go in stores either, but nope, takes a real selfish person to think its ok to go into places while u have a deadly virus, just because it didnt make her really sick, doesnt mean it wont make others she comes in contact with really sick or die! Start penalizing people for going out while positive an maybe things wont spread so fast. Some people are selfish an don’t care about others

    • Matthew Lusk

      July 26, 2021 at 10:32 am

      What penalty do you suggest?

  • Debra Gatlin

    July 26, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    First off , PRIVATELY OWNED businesses must take things into their own hands and make masks mandatory we can’t continue to go on like this. Get rid of the Governor’s in Florida and Georgia in 2022. Find a contender that will do something!! People are tired of living in fear.

    • Karen

      July 29, 2021 at 11:00 pm

      We cant live like hermits either…people died of suicide and isolation on the last surge….kids are forever changed . There has to be middle ground here. We cannot endure another lockdown. I am not going to take down our govenor…….people be smart use commen sense. Why isnt concerned about the open border that has alredy permitted over 2 million people from countries all over the world….many are covid +…they are being transported into the interior of our country via bus and plane. How can we get control of this if the govt is allowing everyone to enter from the southern border. For gosh sakes they are even a hotel in Texas full Ithousing all Covid + pts …most are just freely leaving and spreading the disease in every state. The federal govt is sabotaging our safety for a political agendo.

  • Harold Finch

    July 27, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    As a moderate Republican, I am just astonished how cavalier DeSantis is being as the infection and death rate skyrockets. What a Jackass!!! Florida now accounts for one of every five new infections in the entire country. Time for mandatory vaccinations and mask mandates.

Comments are closed.


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