AdventHealth hospitals across the country are experiencing a surge in unvaccinated patients with severe COVID-19 as the highly contagious Delta variant becomes the dominant form of the virus. In response, the health system has expanded ICU capacity at many of its hospitals, significantly invested in equipment for COVID-19 care and protection, deferred non-emergent elective surgeries in some hospitals, deployed strategies to support its team members and more.
“The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations we are seeing in nearly all of our communities has grown to an all-time high that dwarfs all previous surges of the virus,” said AdventHealth’s Chief Medical Officer Brent Box, MD. “The Delta variant has proven to be much more transmissible and is causing severe illness in younger people under age 40 much more often than we saw earlier in the pandemic.”
In July, AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division moved to black status, the health system’s highest crisis escalation level, which allows for team members and other important resources to be redeployed to respond to the surge of COVID-19 patients. Other communities in the health system’s national footprint are seeing increases in hospitalizations and ICU admissions as well, all with one thing in common - the vast majority are not fully vaccinated.
“Nearly all of our patients across the country who are hospitalized with severe COVID-19 are not vaccinated. This adds to mounting evidence of the vaccine’s efficacy, even against the Delta variant,” said AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw in a recent LinkedIn post about the surge in hospitalizations.
“This is unfortunately a crisis of unprecedented proportions,” said Vincent Hsu, MD, executive director of infection prevention and epidemiologist, on a recent AdventHealth Morning Briefing. “This is two times the amount of COVID patients we had during the winter peak.”
He noted the latest trends are showing some positive signs.
“We do see some light at the end of the tunnel,” Dr. Hsu said. “The growth that we have is slowing … we can still avert a worsening of the surge with vaccination, wearing masks and distancing whenever possible.