Florida hospitals are seeing “very encouraging trends” in hospital admissions for COVID-19, Florida Hospital Association President Mary Mayhew told a national TV audience Thursday morning.
She credited Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ frequent promotion of monoclonal antibody treatments, and his efforts to make them widely available in Florida, as among the reasons for recent improvement and for hope that the summer surge may be waning in the Sunshine State.
Mayhew started out on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show Friday noting Florida has been on the front-end of the nation’s summer surge of COVID-19, with “a dramatic increase in hospitalizations over a seven week period.”
But the tide has shifted, she said, since a peak of 17,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations a couple of weeks ago.
“Right now we are seeing very encouraging trends. Our hospitalizations have dropped dramatically. We are now down to 14,800 hospitalizations. This is extremely encouraging. Our admissions are dropping as well,” she said after co-anchor Willie Geist asked her to provide a snapshot of what’s now happening in Florida.
“So there are signs that we have peaked and are headed in the right direction,” Mayhew said.
She called the monoclonal antibody treatment “a very effective treatment” in reducing hospitalizations.
“Gov. DeSantis has set up 21 sites around the state. Over 40,000 individuals have received treatment over the last several weeks. That is absolutely contributing,” Mayhew said.
But, she indicated the crisis is not over. She noted that more than 50% of Florida’s intensive care unit patients are suffering from COVID-19. She said Florida hospitals “are still very full… our staff are exhausted.”
“We still need to emphasize the importance of people getting vaccinated,” Mayhew added.
“The vast majority of those who are hospitalized are unvaccinated. We all want to avoid this ongoing repeat of surges, of this virus continuing to mutate. It is far more infectious through the delta virus. And we are certainly seeing individuals in the hospital who are extremely ill.”
Florida, she said, ranks 22nd in the country in vaccination rate, with just over half the population fully vaccinated.
She lamented that so many people in their 20s and 30s still live under the assumption that COVID-19 cannot make them very sick, an assumption no longer true with the delta variant. She particularly bemoaned the numbers of unvaccinated pregnant women.
“I have to say we have seen far too many cases of pregnant women in our hospitals with COVID, severely ill, or some unfortunately passing away because of COVID,” Mayhew said. “We have really got to continue these efforts to aggressively get individuals vaccinated.”