‘We haven’t seen the end of it’: Current COVID-19 surge likely to continue, doctors say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — AdventHealth doctors said Central Floridians should be prepared for a long siege and surge of the latest wave of COVID-19.

The Central Florida hospital system just surpassed its previous peak of the pandemic, which was 841 patients. It now has more than 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

READ: Here’s where you can get the COVID-19 vaccine in Orlando in August

“What’s extraordinary is the speed at which we are currently seeing new cases and unfortunately right now the slope is pretty steep,” said epidemiologist Dr. Vincent Hsu, executive director of infection prevention. “And we haven’t seen the end of it. This is still coming.”

And in a disturbing trend, doctors said several pregnant women have been admitted to the ICU and put on ventilators.

READ: Here’s where & when face masks are required, recommended in Central Florida

“Most of those in the unit are intubated,” said OBGYN Dr. Michael Cacciatore, chief medical officer. “So we are seeing that, and that’s where those pre-term deliveries, if they’re viable, happen.”

AdventHealth OBGYNs said pregnant women are five times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than other women their age because of decreased lung capacity and being more immunocompromised.

The doctors blame misinformation spreading on social media for so many childbearing woman being unvaccinated.

READ: CDC mask recommendations: Is your county a ‘high transmissibility’ area?

“There’s absolutely nothing out there that suggests it affects fertility,” Cacciatore said.

“The risk of getting COVID and those effects are far, far greater than the side effects of a vaccine,” Hsu added.

Information coming out of Orlando Health is equally as discouraging. Its hospitalizations are nearly five times higher than two months ago.

READ: Orange County mayor declares local state of emergency, urges all to wear masks indoors

Both hospitals show about 95% of those being admitted with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

“We are going to see significant numbers and even an increase over the next week or so,” Hsu said. “The long term outlook, of course, is a little bit more muddy.”

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.