Hospitalizations surge as COVID-19 infects younger, unvaccinated Floridians

ORLANDO, Fla. — More than half the hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Florida are for people aged 25 to 55, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

The association, which represents hospitals across the state, has been tracking federally submitted data as well as an informal survey of its members as it monitors the current COVID-19 outbreak in Florida.

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“We are seeing 25-year-olds, 35-year-olds in the hospital and on ventilators,” said Mary Mayhew, the CEO of the Florida Hospital Association. “Because of the incredible work to vaccinate the older population, we are now seeing the delta variant burn through a largely unvaccinated population.”

According to the association, about 96% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are not fully vaccinated.

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“This is very different from what we experienced in previous surges,” said Mayhew, noting that the Jacksonville area is at 154% of its previous peak and that the Orlando area is at 115% of its previous peak.

The FHA said because of the influx of COVID-19 patients, many Florida hospitals have been forced to convert cafeterias and conference rooms into bed space to accommodate patients.

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While the association would not speculate as to how much longer this outbreak would last, Mayhew did note that it is unlikely hospitalizations will fall before the case numbers do.