JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows coronavirus hospitalizations in Florida have tripled in three weeks.

Emergency rooms and ICU beds at local hospitals are filling up, and now, a well-known Jacksonville immunologist is calling on the Governor to declare a state of emergency.

-Is it time for Governor to declare a state of emergency/public health emergency in Florida regarding COVID-19 hospitalizations with what we are seeing here? Yes
-So we can get some federal help and maybe some extra staff to assist in the hospitals? Yes.
This is serious folks

— Sunil Joshi M.D. (@famallergyjax)

July 26, 2021

A state of emergency would free up additional resources.

It’s just like we see with hurricanes and other emergencies. Hospital officials throughout Northeast Florida are concerned because they say ER’s are filling up, and they’re largely among people who have not gotten vaccinated.

As of Saturday, Health and Human Services says 6,639 people are in the hospital with COVID-19 in Florida. That’s an increase of nearly 5,000 people since July 3rd.

For more perspective, at the height of the pandemic last year, July 23rd, 10,014 people were hospitalized with the virus.

We’ve learned Baptist Health is treating nearly 390 patients for COVID-19, including more than 80 in the intensive care unit.

The Hospital says over 99% of the people hospitalized have not been vaccinated. News4Jax reporters toured the hospital, and spoke with patients, including Francisca, a COVID-19 Patient.

She says she felt badly, “I cannot breathe good. I have shortness of breath. I feel sorry about not getting a vaccine.”

Francisca says she does not think she would be in the hospital if she were vaccinated.

At UF Health Jacksonville on Monday it had 175 hospitalized with COVID-19, 50 of which were in the intensive care unit.

That’s up from the 150 hospitalizations it had Friday, that number was a 1,000% increase in cases since June.

News4Jax also spoke with a local immunologist who reiterated these hospitalizations are impacting people who also need care, Dr. Sunil Joshi. He says the older population is still requiring hospitalization for other things, like heart attacks. “People still get G-I bleeds, people still get appendicitis and break bones and have to go to the hospital,” Dr. Joshi said.

File photo of Dr. Sunil Joshi.

“And so the hospital is starting to reach capacity, just with COVID-19 patients, you know, what’s it going to do for those other people who also need hospitalization?”

He said that’s why they are looking for some help.

Hospitals throughout Jacksonville are still stressing that wait times are being impacted by this. If what you’re experiencing is not something urgent, like a stroke or heart attack, you could have to wait longer.

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