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More vaccinated people hospitalized with COVID-19

COVID cases.jpg
John Raoux
/
AP
A health worker draws blood from a patient for an antibody test in DeLand.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has ballooned since the holiday weekend, even tripling at some hospital systems.

The Baptist Health system on Friday reported 141 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 across its five Jacksonville-area hospitals, up from 133 patients the day before. Three of those patients were children, and 14 were in the intensive care unit.

About 65% of Baptist's patients are not fully vaccinated, down from 75% of patients just two days before, indicating omicron's infectious nature even among vaccinated people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines "fully vaccinated" as anyone who is two weeks past receiving a two-dose regimen, even if more than six months have passed since their last shot and they have not received their booster.

The CDC announced this week that it would not change the definition of "fully vaccinated," but the agency did create the category of "up-to-date" for those who have received a booster.

Ascension St. Vincent reported 87 inpatients with COVID-19 within their three-hospital system Friday, with 16 in the ICU. The hospitals reported just 38 patients with COVID-19 a week before.

Since St. Vincent started releasing daily COVID-19 statistics on Tuesday, it has listed 91% of those patients as unvaccinated, even as the number of patients significantly increased. Other hospitals have reported that a growing percentage of patients are fully vaccinated.

A spokesman for St. Vincent was unable to explain why the hospital system showed almost all patients unvaccinated — without changes each day — while Baptist reported 65%. "There are multiple variables, and I'm not going to speculate," he wrote in an email.

Among other hospitals:

  • UF Health Jacksonville: The hospital listed 99 COVID-19 patients as of Friday morning, up from 87 patients the day before, and 82 on Wednesday. The hospital did not report how many patients were vaccinated or in the ICU.
  • Mayo Clinic: COVID patients had increased 60% as of Monday compared with Dec. 27. The hospital said it would release percentage data on Monday, but not total numbers or detailed data.
  • Memorial Hospital and Orange Park Medical Center: A spokeswoman confirmed a rise in cases but did not offer specific numbers.
  • Naval Hospital Jacksonville: It could not disclose the amount of hospitalized COVID-19, per Department of Defense guidelines. As of Wednesday just 16 hospitalizations were reported in the Navy nationwide, with 12 being civilian patients, three contractors and one a sailor.

Statewide, the number of hospital inpatients with COVID-19 is nearing 9,000, according to data posted Friday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The data showed that 8,914 Florida inpatients had COVID-19, up from 8,406 on Thursday and 7,647 on Wednesday. A total of 1,015 patients with COVID-19 were in intensive care, up from 935 on Thursday and 843 on Wednesday.

All Jacksonville-area hospitals urged residents to get vaccinated, including the booster shot, per CDC guidelines.

They also encouraged following advice from the CDC about masking, hand hygiene and social distancing.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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 Rtroncoso@wjct.org and follow him on Twitter @RayTroncoso.