LAKELAND, Fla. — COVID-19 hospitalizations are at an all-time high at Lakeland Regional Health, and the majority of the patients are unvaccinated.
“We’re currently at the highest level of COVID infections in the hospital during the entire pandemic,” said Dr. Daniel Haight, Vice President of Community Health and Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Lakeland Regional Health.
There are 253 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized at Lakeland Regional Health. 22 of those patients are on ventilators.
Doctors are concerned about the number of young people being infected.
“Thirty’s, 40s, 50 years old. We’re seeing more of them and we’re seeing them having severe trouble breathing. And we’ve seen where they really wish they’ve gotten protection,” said Haight.
Unvaccinated patients make up 95% of the COVID-19 cases at the medical center. So, Dr. Haight and his colleagues took to social media to make a plea.
“The vaccines are working. Future variants could be more serious if we don’t do our part now,” said April Novotny, Chief Nurse Executive at Lakeland Regional Health, in a video posted to the hospital’s Facebook page.
Dr. Haight said the vaccine is the ultimate answer to slowing down this fourth wave of the virus.
“When we’re seeing younger people getting sicker quickly and infected more people around them, we really wish that that protection of the vaccine was out there more than it has been. And it is putting people who are vaccinated at risk,” he said.
According to state data, 53% of Polk County residents are vaccinated.