— ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 26, 2021 – About 1,380 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 across AdventHealth’s Central Florida hospitals, a drop from last week that appears to signal the start of a decline from the unprecedented Delta surge that began in July.
“For the last three days we’ve seen numbers starting to fall,” said Dr. Neil Finkler, chief clinical officer for AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division on today’s AdventHealth Morning Briefing.“I do believe we have not only plateaued, but that we have peaked and we are looking at the beginning of what we believe to be a downward curve.”
Finkler said a higher rate of vaccination in the community as well as mask-wearing will be crucial to a sustained drop in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
The Delta variant proved to be highly contagious and is now the predominant driver of cases in the United States, he said, raising the concern that new variants could become problematic over time.
“The bigger the pool of unvaccinated people we have, the more likely it is that we will see more variants emerge,” Finkler said.
He recommended that children wear masks in school because even if they don’t show symptoms of the virus, they could spread it to others.
Finkler also noted that vaccinated people will, over time, likely need a third dose of the vaccine after studies have shown that immunity can wave over time and even vaccinated people can become infected.
Immunity from natural COVID infections also wanes over time and those who recovered from COVID, including children age 12 and up, should also receive the vaccine.
He strongly advised women who are pregnant, lactating or thinking about becoming pregnant to get the vaccine because those women are about three times as likely to need ICU care if they become infected with COVID. They are also at greater risk of pre-term births, stillbirths an requiring life support.
“This is not theoretical,” he said. “We have seen pregnant women who have been intubated who have lost babies and who have been on ECMO as a result of COVID.”
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