Surge in hospitalizations prompts Tampa Bay hospitals to bring back COVID-19 restrictions

COVID-19 test
Posted at 10:34 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 23:12:57-04

TAMPA, Fla. — After breaking the record for the most COVID-19 cases in a single day, Florida has broken its previous record for the number of hospitalizations, with 10,389 people in the hospital, according to the latest numbers from Florida Hospital Association.

The previous record was from more than a year ago, July 23, 2020, more than a half-year before vaccinations became widespread when Florida had 10,170 hospitalizations.

RELATED: Florida breaks record for COVID-19 hospitalizations

“We are far from done with COVID-19,” said epidemiology professor, Dr. Jason Salemi.

Salemi has been following the numbers since the pandemic started. He said there are several factors causing the current surge in cases.

“The fact that the Delta variant is much more transmissible. The fact that we still have over eight million people of vaccine eligible age in Florida who have yet to be fully vaccinated,” he said. “Then when you also relax those mitigation strategies, like wearing a mask and social distancing, that’s why we are seeing the results that we’re seeing.”

ABC Action News checked the numbers at several hospitals in our area.

As of Monday, August 2:

  • Advent Health has 275 COVID-19 patients at their six bay area locations.
  • BayFront Health St. Petersburg has 36 COVID-19 patients, 13 of them are in ICU.
  • Tampa General Hospital has more than 113 COVID-19 patients, 51 are in ICU.
  • Sarasota Memorial Hospital broke a record with the most patients since the pandemic started. They have 131 patients, 29 are in ICU.

According to the CDC and The Florida Hospital Association, more than 90% of COVID-19 patients in the hospital are unvaccinated.

The surge in cases has prompted several hospitals to bring back their previous coronavirus restrictions.

For example, BayCare Health System says all of its hospitals will only allow one visitor a day, per patient. Sarasota Memorial Hospital has a “no visitor policy,” but officials say there will be exceptions made depending on the patients and the situation.

You should check with each hospital before you show up to visit a patient. Also, most hospitals are requiring masks and social distancing.

As for children, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has a warning for parents.

“Unfortunately we are seeing quite a rise in our COVID-19 cases here at the hospital for the month of July,” said Dr. Allison Messina, in a Facebook video. She is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease.

In just five weeks, Florida went from 7 a day of children hospitalized for COVID-19 to 35 a day.

Doctors are encouraging parents to make their children wear masks while at school, even though they’re not mandatory.

“One of the reasons for that,” Dr. Messina said. “If you have COVID-19 it’s the safest way to not transfer the disease from person to person.”

That protects teaches, staff, and students.