Central Florida hospitals adjust for influx of COVID-19 patients

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Florida leads the nation in per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19.

As a result, hospitals have had to adjust operations to treat the influx of COVID-19 patients.

Right now, the people who are hospitalized for COVID-19 across the state are in their 20s, 30s or 40s. That’s because the elderly people who made up the majority of hospitalizations last year now have a much higher vaccination rate.

Florida’s hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at a level never seen before.

READ: Central Florida doctors concerned over growing number of children hospitalized with COVID-19

“This delta variant has led to a rapid increase in COVID hospitalizations,” said Mary Mayhew with the Florida Hospital Association.

Across the state, more than 11,5000 coronavirus patients are in the hospital, exceeding what was experienced in 2020.

AdventHealth has its most admitted coronavirus patients ever, at 1,060. Orlando Health has 555 patients, also surpassing its previous peak.

READ: Winter Park offering city employees money, day off for getting vaccinated

“We’re feeling it a lot harder in the health care system,” said Dr. Rajiv Bahl, a Central Florida emergency medicine physician. “For every person that works in the emergency room in the intensive care unit, we are all tired.”

In Florida, roughly 96% of coronavirus patients in the hospital right now are unvaccinated.

READ: Hospitalizations surge as COVID-19 infects younger, unvaccinated Floridians

“When people tell me that they wish they could have gotten the vaccine, it’s a little bit heartbreaking to tell them that they can’t get it at that moment while they are positive,” Bahl said. “That moment had already passed, and they should have actually gotten it weeks prior.”

State data shows the vaccine rate in Florida increased by 33% for the second straight week.

READ: 25K fully vaccinated people statewide have tested positive for COVID-19, DeSantis says

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.