‘It’s really heartbreaking’: Tampa General’s COVID-19 hospitalizations triple amid nationwide spike

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Doctors at Tampa General Hospital are seeing a surge in coronavirus cases.

“It used to be around ten patients, that went up to thirty and now we are up to fifty-six patients,” Dr. Seetha Lakshmi told 8 On Your Side.

Dr. Lakshmi said the hospital is treating younger patients with an average age between 20 and 50 years old. Most are not vaccinated.

“Right now, more than 90% of our admitted patients are unvaccinated, and also, 99% of our deaths have been in the unvaccinated age group,” Dr. Lakshmi said. “The way the Delta variant is panning out, if you are vaccinated, you might get a head cold. If you are not vaccinated, you go through the whole thing of lung disease, ventilator—it’s really heartbreaking.”

The Hillsborough County Health Department said it was dealing with more than 500 new virus cases.

8 On Your Side checked on the county’s vaccination rates and learned 46% of eligible residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine while 38% are fully vaccinated.

“Our cases, hospitalizations, even deaths are all going up while our vaccination numbers are going down— these things are directly correlated,” Dr. Douglas Holt explained.

The White House said one in five new coronavirus cases are in Florida.

Hospital leaders say not enough people in Hillsborough County are vaccinated. They’re asking those who are apprehensive to seek advice from their physician, and not get information from social media.

“The speed at which it is spreading, it is going to be really overwhelming really fast if we don’t act,” Dr. Lakshmi said.

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