MIAMI (WSVN) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has spoken with South Florida hospital executives as the state sees another record-shattering surge of hospitalization rates.
The governor’s virtual meeting on Wednesday comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the delta variant is accounting for about 93% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
“We have more patients in the Memorial Healthcare System hospital beds than we have ever had before,” Memorial Healthcare System Dr. Marc Napp said.
DeSantis led the virtual roundtable discussion with Florida hospital CEOs.
“Every single hospital system is saying the same thing, that that population that did do that, who is especially vulnerable to COVID, is benefiting from protection,” he said. “Over 91% of seniors have gotten at least one shot in the state of Florida.”
According to the Health and Human Services Department, the U.S. has 58,718 COVID hospitalizations while Florida alone has 12,408. Of the 12,408, nearly 2,500 are in the ICU.
“If you get sick, go see someone in the first seven days,” said Jackson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya. “Monitor your oxygenation rate. There are machines nowadays you put on your finger and you know if your number is down below 94%, that’s a problem. Vaccinated people have a lot less potential of getting hospitalized. That’s extremely important.”
At Jackson Memorial Hospital, there are 278 COVID-19 positive patients. Of those patients, 90% are not vaccinated.
“Their length of stay, the vaccinated, is about a day or two,” Broward Health CEO Shane Strum said. “Those who are unvaccinated, we are seeing about five to seven days.”
At the White House on Tuesday, President Joe Biden called on the governors of Florida and Texas to “get out of the way” of vaccine rules.
“Florida and Texas account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country,” he said. “I believe the results of their decisions are not good for their constituents.”
Biden called on the governors to, at the very least, allow businesses to decide how to proceed with things like vaccination passports, which DeSantis has banned.
“I say to these governors: Please help. If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way of people trying to do the right thing,” said Biden.
“If you are trying to lock people down, I am standing in your way, and I’m standing for the people of Florida,” DeSantis said to Biden, “so why don’t you do your job? Why don’t you get this border secured? And until you do that, I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you.”
Effective Aug. 9, Memorial Healthcare System will suspend elective procedures in an effort to save crucial resources for COVID-19 patients.
“The idea is to direct the resources that we have: nursing, medical care, et cetera, to meeting the crisis that’s in front of us right now,” Napp said. “We are asking our medical staff to look at the care that they are planning to deliver in elective procedures and see what are those procedures that can be delayed.”
Rachel Valdes got vaccinated at a new site in Hialeah at Babcock Park.
“I got it so I can be able to be safe around my family and my friends and to be able to go places,” Valdes said.
Also, new test sites have opened across South Florida to handle the influx of people who want to be tested for the virus.
Venessa Henry and her family were tested on Wednesday, and they are among those in the community who are urging people to step up.
“You know, if we don’t get vaccinated now, it will just mean there will be another strain and another strain, and I want to get back to life,” Henry said.
Memorial Healthcare System said they are treating so many patients, they had to convert some conference rooms and cafeterias into hospital rooms to meet demand.
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