TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Four months into the coronavirus pandemic, and Florida has finally revealed the number of current coronavirus hospitalizations.
As of Monday evening, more than 8,000 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized across the state. That figure includes 1,065 people in the Tampa Bay area.
Hillsborough County has the most hospitalizations among the Tampa Bay area counties, followed by Pinellas and then Polk.
“We are actively caring for these people, doing everything we can to help them improve and get better,” said Hershey Pyle, who has been an ICU nurse for 30 years in Polk County.
Public health experts said that coronavirus patient data was critical to understanding the severity of the pandemic.
“Is it more difficult to take care of a coronavirus patient?” investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi asked.
“It is more difficult, they are extremely sick, they require multiple medications that we’re giving them throughout the day, 24 hours around the clock,” Pyle explained.
It doesn’t just require more time though. Pyle says taking care of a coronavirus patient requires stricter protocols and more staff members.
“When they’re very sick, to help recuperate some of the lung space, we will actually lay them on their belly,” said Pyle. “Frequently, we will have a one-on-one, (meaning) one nurse is assigned to that one patient.”
While the goal is to have one nurse to one patient, it doesn’t always happen with staffing shortages.
It’s important to note, the state’s data doesn’t say if the patients are in general hospital beds or the intensive care unit.
LATEST ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC:
- COVID-19 variants: What happens when we finish the Greek alphabet?
- Vaccines in your salad? Scientists growing medicine-filled plants to replace injections
- COVID-19 death rates rising in Florida, other states
- What comes next after FDA panel’s rejection of Pfizer’s third booster shot?
- Latest CDC study: Both 2-dose COVID vaccines provide more protection than 1-dose J&J shot