— ORLANDO, Fla., July 29, 2021 – AdventHealth reached a new high on Thursday with about 1,000 COVID-19 hospitalized patients across the health care system’s Central Florida Division and, so far, there are no signs that the surge is beginning to decelerate.
“We are still seeing a rise in cases every day and that has not let up,” said Dr. Vincent Hsu, executive director of infection prevention and an epidemiologist on today’s AdventHealth Morning Briefing. “I’m confident we are still going to see a significant number over the next week or so.”
Dr. Michael Cacciatore, chief medical officer for AdventHealth Medical Group and an OB-GYN, said he’s increasingly seeing cases of pregnant women, who are unvaccinated, develop severe COVID infections and require intubation and life support.
Such scenarios put the health of the baby at risk because pregnant women are more susceptible to respiratory complications and their bodies often cannot produce an adequate level of oxygen to support both the mother and the baby, even with a breathing tube. As result, some babies are being emergently delivered pre-term.
He noted the toll of the still intense pandemic on doctors, nurses and other frontline team members.
“Our health care workers have seen a lot in the last year,” Cacciatore said.
He said the vaccine is highly recommended for pregnant women with the risk of an actual COVID-19 infection far greater than any risk related to the vaccine. He also said there is no impact on fertility for women who get the vaccine.
Hsu said the highly contagious Delta variant continues to be a driver of COVID spread and urged the community to do their part by wearing a mask and getting the vaccine if they haven’t already done so.
While even vaccinated people can contract the virus, the vaccine prevents them from becoming very sick. About 94% of COVID patients who are hospitalized are unvaccinated.
As Florida’s COVID rate continues to soar, Hsu said the numbers serve as notice for other cities and states that additional surges are possible unless more people get vaccinated.
“Florida is an epicenter for what’s going on,” he said. “This is a good warning sign for other localities.”
The doctors urged people in need of a COVID-19 test to avoid the Emergency Rooms unless they are having trouble breathing. COVID tests are readily available at primary care physician offices, Centra Care and government-run sites.
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