‘Epidemic of the unvaccinated:’ SMH seeing spike in COVID cases, ICU patients


SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Sarasota Memorial Hospital is seeing a significant rise in COVID-19 patients and ICU patients as more people are testing positive for the coronavirus in large part due to the transmission of the Delta variant.

“Even though there is a pool of unvaccinated that is much smaller, the virus being more transmissible is driving this surge… This has transformed into the epidemic of the unvaccinated,” Infectious disease specialist Dr. Manuel Gordillo said.

Dr. Manuel Gordillo says with the Delta variant continuing to spread rapidly the effects are already being felt inside SMH as of tonight the COVID-19 unit within the ICU is nearly full, with one bed left.

“Over a period of about two weeks we’ve gone from three patients to the upper thirties,” Dr. Gordillo said.

According to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, just one month ago, the number of COVID patients in Sarasota Memorial Hospital was in the single digits with no COVID patients in the ICU. As of Monday morning, 36 patients were hospitalized with COVID with seven patients in the ICU.

As for break-through infections, most cases continue to be mild. Of nearly 100 patients admitted with COVID to SMH during the past 30 days, only six patients have met the criteria for a break-through infection which are patients who test positive for COVID at least 14 days after completing their COVID vaccine series.

Sarasota County is currently the fourth most fully vaccinated county in the state currently sitting at 55.1% vaccinated with 81.5% of the population over the age of 65 being fully vaccinated.

“Seniors are well protected but that 10-15 percent when they get sick those are the ones that will end up in the ICU and those are the ones who are going to die,” Gordillo said.

Dr. Gordillo is urging those who have not been vaccinated yet to get one and those that remain hesitant to talk with their doctor or a trusted medical professional.

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