TAMPA, Fla. — Over the past year, doctors have had to become flexible so they were always prepared to handle a surge of COVID-19 patients at any given time, but things are starting to change.
We’ve been tracking the local hospitalizations each week. The numbers show a steady decrease over the past few months in the Tampa Bay area.
Medical experts say this is mostly thanks to our most vulnerable population being able to get vaccinated first.
Local doctors say they’ve been seeing some changes on their clinical shifts, but what they’re dealing with now is a more complicated version of COVID-19.
“A lot of the patients I’m diagnosing in the hospital setting, in the ED setting who are sick are patients who have long haul symptoms or patients who have had COVID previously and may still be experiencing symptoms, not sure if they’re reinfected or what’s going on around that, so the complexity starts to really increase,” said Dr. Jason Wilson, Associate Medical Director of the Emergency Room at Tampa General Hospital.
He says at TGH they’ve already been seeing those types of patients.
“Some of it is people who are really just otherwise very healthy people who just haven’t quite been able to recover fully yet. They are still having some decreased lung function and some decreased heart function,” said Wilson.
“We’ve got to figure out why that’s happening and what we can do about it and exactly how many people that it impacts out there and how many people we haven’t even medically diagnosed yet who have those kind of symptoms,” he added.
If hospitalizations continue to decrease, Wilson says it’s likely TGH will start distributing its COVID-19 resources within the Global Emergency Diseases Institute, to concentrate on other public health problems to help the community.