Florida hospital becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19 surge

“The patients that we are seeing now are actually much younger than what we used to see in the initial [COVID-19] wave in January and February. The patients are much sicker,” Dr. Hiren Mehta, a critical care physician at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, told ABC News.

“They’re staying on a ventilator longer, and they are in the intensive care unit for a much longer duration,” he added.

Jeremy Lusong, a nurse at the same hospital, told ABC News that she’d become frustrated because the majority of her patients hadn’t been vaccinated.

“We’ve been getting more sicker patients [with] COVID cases,” said Lusong. “There is a vaccine that the government has made available for the community to get, but it looks like there are a couple of people who are still undecided about it and now we’re seeing those cases.”

Lusong said the strain has made her mentally and emotionally drained.

“It’s just a matter of time that you might get [the virus] if you don’t protect yourself. You have other options, if you don’t like the vaccine. … Please avoid the public,” she said. “We should all be socially responsible for each other.”

According to a weekly state report, Florida reported 134,506 new cases in the past week. As of Wednesday, nearly 60% of the population has had at least one dose of the vaccine and 49% of the state is fully vaccinated.

Ian Woods, 38, has been a COVID-19 patient at UF Health Shands Hospital for more than a week. He said he regretted waiting on the vaccine.

“I would say don’t be afraid to get it; just go ahead and get it. It’s worth it. I mean, I wish I’d gotten it,” said Woods. “I probably wouldn’t have wound up in the hospital like this.”


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