Eyes fall on Florida as COVID-19 hospitalizations soar

More than 10,000 people are currently fighting COVID-19 in hospitals as inpatients across the state of Florida.

Doctors are worried that if things get worse, non-COVID-19 patients may need to go to different emergency rooms. Those same doctors and nurses have been on the frontlines of this pandemic for 17 months now.

And, COVID-19 survivors say you don’t want to end up in the hospital as they have. John Loeber spent time in the hospital with COVID-19 and says not knowing if you’ll survive is the hardest part.

“When I was in the hospital, I literally thought I was going to die,” said Loeber. That feeling isn’t a good feeling.

“You do not want to be in the hospital. You just don’t. It’s not a fun place to be,” he said.

Loeber contracted COVID-19 in June of 2020. He is doing much better now but his journey to recovery was a long one. “It was a good six to eight months of recovery before I got back to normal,” he said.

With Florida hospitalization rates at the highest they’ve been since the pandemic began, Leober knows for a fact that the health care worker must be exhausted.

Florida COVID records 2021
Credit: WINK News

“You could tell these are people that are just like us they have families to go home to,” Loeber said.

Dr. Rebekah Bernard is with the Collier County Medical Society and agrees that health care workers have families to go home to as well. “They are working very hard. My guess is that they are exhausted,” Bernard said.

Bernard is also worried that because of the lack of resources and level of exhaustion, some non-COVID-19 patients may have to go to other ERs as more people contract the virus.

“Just today, I had to call 911 for an emergency patient not COVID related,” Dr. Bernard said. “But the EMS crew had to take him to a free-standing ER rather than the regular emergency room because they told me there is no availability in the main ER right now.”

COVID-19 survivors, like Loeber, hope you take their messages seriously. “You do not want this because you don’t know how your body is going to react to it,” Loeber said.

NCH says they have a total of 715 beds available with 48 critical care beds but, under its emergency COVID Surge Plans, they can expand to 1,000 total beds and 143 critical care beds.

Lee Health said last week that it has enough resources to care for all of its emergency department patients.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Drew Hill
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