Florida hospitals seeing younger COVID-19 patients, fewer deaths in latest virus surge

Hospital leaders said in a roundtable discussion hosted by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday that the average age of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is younger during the latest wave of infections.

They said that, combined with vaccinations, is helping keep the number of deaths from the virus down lower than in previous surges.

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Leaders from Orlando Health told DeSantis that they hope the current surge has reached a plateau, according to data from other countries.

“This peak went up very rapid… and then fell very quickly so we’re hoping that same thing occurs here,” said David Strong, the CEO of Orlando Health.

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But the latest numbers from Wednesday, show about 120 more people are hospitalized with COVID-19 than last week at Orlando Health. Last week 67 of those people were in intensive care, as of Wednesday there are 89.

Hospital leaders from across the state said in general 95% of the people hospitalized with COVID-19 now are unvaccinated.

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

Experts with Orlando Health said while it’s still possible to get a breakthrough case after being vaccinated, being vaccinated still puts you in a better situation to fight the virus.

“Despite the information about the people who are fully vaccinated still getting COVID, those numbers are low and it’s still a much better situation than if they wouldn’t have gotten the vaccine,” a doctor from Orlando Health said.

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

Tampa General CEO John Couris said in general the vaccinated people that are getting hospitalized from the virus now were already immunosurpressed to begin with.

North Broward Hospital District CEO Shane Strum said the more contagious delta variant is contributing to higher case numbers, but that the cases that they are seeing with the variant tend to be less severe are require shorter hospitalizations.

READ: Parents, teachers gather at Osceola County school board meeting demanding mask mandate

Monoclonal antibodies, Strum said, are also proving to be key to helping symptomatic people recover from the virus ever more quickly.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.