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Hospitals are filling with COVID patients, but nothing like last year

COVID hospitals.jpg
Wilfredo Lee
Crews return to their ambulances at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida.

COVID-19 is putting more people in the hospital, many in serious condition, even though the omicron variant is considered a milder version of the coronavirus.

Baptist Health and Ascension St. Vincent in Jacksonville both reported rising caseloads Wednesday, as did hospitals around Florida.

Baptist Health said it was treating 114 COVID patients in its five hospitals, with 13 in intensive care, including one child. Seventy-five percent of the patients were unvaccinated, Baptist said.

Ascension St. Vincent’s reported 82 COVID patients in its three hospitals, up from 28 a week ago. More than 90% were unvaccinated. Fourteen were in intensive care.

Both hospitals urged people to get vaccinated, and boosted, if eligible.

Statewide, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 topped 8,400 on Thursday, according to the News Service of Florida.

Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed 8,406 hospital inpatients had COVID-19, up from 7,647 on Wednesday and 6,914 on Tuesday.

The data also showed that the number of patients in intensive care has more than doubled, rising from 443 last week to 843 on Wednesday and 935 on Thursday.

The number of patients with COVID-19 has surged as the highly contagious omicron variant has raced through the state. The federal government reported Dec. 6 that 1,298 Florida inpatients had COVID-19.

While the hospitalization numbers have steadily increased as the omicron variant has spread, they remain below totals during the summer when the delta variant of the coronavirus hit the state.

Reporter Raymon Troncoso joined WJCT News in June of 2021 after concluding his fellowship with Report For America, where he was embedded with Capitol News Illinois covering Illinois state government with a focus on policy and equity. You can reach him at (904) 358-6319 or and follow him on Twitter @RayTroncoso.
Randy comes to Jacksonville from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where, as metro editor, he led investigative coverage of the Parkland school shooting that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for public service. He has spent more than 40 years in reporting and editing positions in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Florida. You can reach Randy at or on Twitter, @rroguski.