Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are down in Florida

While COVID-19 cases have been up and down in Florida, there is one bright spot: hospitalizations are down. However, now is not the time to relax.

Dr. Timothy Dougherty is the Medical Director of Cape Coral Hospital’s Emergency Department of Lee Health.

“When I worked on January first, my first seven patients that I picked up all were COVID positive,” said Dr. Dougherty.

As the medical director of Cape Coral hospital’s Emergency Department, Dr. Dougherty saw the stress the post-holiday surge put on local resources.

LINK: Current Situation in Florida and Trends, reported by FDOH

“If we continue to have the uptick that we had during the beginning of January, then our ERs, the ICU would have put a significant strain on the system,” he said.

While community transmission remains high, Dougherty says hospitalized are starting to come down. “We’re clearly not as bad as we were the first week of January,” Dr. Dougherty said.

The progress made will come down to timing and treatment.

“The January spike was a lot of patients that I spoke to, did have family members that came down from out of state and when they were visiting, so that first seven days after the Christmas holidays was right when they were all coming in,” Doughtery said.

Dr. David Lindner is the Director of NCH’s COVID response team.

He said, “Those who do get the disease, we do have a couple of options. Now, we can treat them early. And having convalescent plasma to take the blood from someone who recovered from COVID uses their antibodies to fight the infection in a sick patient. We’ve seen tremendous recovery by doing that.”

LINK: COVID-19 projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

“We specifically have treatments that basically can keep these people from being hospitalized. We’re seeing anywhere from eight to 10 people a day who are getting monoclonal antibodies,” Lindner added.

Experts warn that this drop in hospitalizations does not mean it is time to relax.

Dr. Marissa J. Levine is a Professor of Public Health Practice and Family Medicine at the University of South Florida.

“If we do that, because we have so much virus in the community, and we have these variants, it could take off again, and we could have another surge on top of the surge,” Dr. Marissa. “We still have very high community transmission rates, the test positivity is still high.”

One major concern is that people will host gatherings for upcoming Superbowl parties. You can cheer on the Bucs safely by moving your gathering outside or limiting your guest list.

If you’d like to donate convalescent plasma: Email [email protected] or call  (239)343-2332 and leave a voicemail.

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Drew Hill
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