ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Florida Department of Health has detected 18 cases of a delta plus mutation and has three cases identified in hospitalized patients.
The delta plus variant has also been found in wastewater in Orange and Osceola counties. Michael Teng, a virologist at the University of South Florida said, “There isn’t any evidence that this virus is better at transmitting than delta is or this mutation gives it any other kind of advantage over delta. We’ll have to wait and see.”
According to Nicole Lovine, chief hospital epidemiologist at the University of Florida Health in Gainesville, what the latest mutations show is that the coronavirus is constantly evolving, particularly if it is able to spread at high rates among people who are not vaccinated.
With the delta variant being dominant in the state, Florida is seeing huge increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
On August 9, 2021, Florida had 56,633 new cases, making the seven-day average 27, 341, an increase of more than 162% from the prior seven days. Hospitalizations were at 13,373, an increase of over 103%, and deaths were at 122, an increase of over 211%.
Hospitals are once again feeling the pressure as these numbers rise. “We are seeing a surge like we’ve not seen before in terms of the patients coming,” Dr. Marc Napp, chief medical officer for Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Florida, said “It’s the sheer number coming in at the same time. There are only so many beds, so many doctors, only so many nurses.”
AdventHealth in Central Florida at the beginning of August had 1,350 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the most ever. The hospital system is now postponing non-emergency surgery and limiting the number of visitors so they can focus on caring for the COVID patients.
Across Florida, there are more than 12,500 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and over 2,500 of those are in ICUs.
Baptist Hospital in Miami had fewer than 20 COVID patients less than two months ago, but are now seeing an influx of over 200 new patients. “As fast as we are opening up units, they’re being filled with COVID patients,” said Dr. Sergio Segarra, the hospital’s chief medical officer.
Judi Custer said she and her husband did everything they were told to do to ward off the virus. The Fort Lauderdale retirees got vaccinated and wore masks, even when the rules were lifted. Still, they fell ill with COVID-19 a few weeks ago, and 80-year-old Doug Custer was hospitalized for five days.
Judy Custer said she still believes more people need to get vaccinated.
“We’ve had it long enough to know it is helping people, even if they get sick with it,” she said. “You’re less likely to be put on a ventilator. You’re less likely to be hospitalized.”
Lynn DeJarnette is a contributing writer for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org