Baptist Hospital officials join Jacksonville Mayor and other health professionals to discuss COVID surge

By Susan Hardee Steger
July 21, 2021

Editor’s Note: As of today, Baptist Medical and its four “adult” hospitals have 292 COVID patients of which 62 are in the Intensive Care Unit.  99.96% are unvaccinated. The average age of the patients is 55.2 with most in the age range of  50 – 59.  The Fernandina Observer asked for a breakdown of COVID cases in Baptist Health Nassau, but a breakdown was not provided.

Compared to the last COVID surge, the hospital sees younger patients who are sicker and “getting sicker quicker.”

Duval County Mayor Lenny Curry, area hospital administrators, and experts in the medical field delivered a loud and clear message during a news conference held today in Jacksonville. “The shots work! Vaccines are the best tool to prevent severe illness and death. Get the vaccine!”

One at a time, hospital administrators from Baptist Medical Center, UF Health, Mayo Clinic, and Ascension Florida, and Brooks Rehab, spoke of Intensive Care Units at or near capacity with the vast majority of patients infected with the quickly spreading COVID Delta virus variant.

Dr. Timothy Groover, chief medical officer of Baptist Health.

Dr. Timothy Gro0ver, Chief Medical Officer Baptist Medical, spoke directly to the stark reality of the latest COVID surge. He began with a reminder that COVID is deadly. 69% of the hospitalized patients have the Delta virus and compared to the last COVID surge, the hospital sees younger patients who are sicker and “getting sicker quicker.”

The patients are the typical workforce moms and dads, said Groover. In the past month, 44% are 40 years of age or younger, generally, people in the workforce who are absent from work because they are in the hospital. They were previously healthy moms, dads, brothers, and sisters; now hospitalized. Even when these patients return home, some struggle for months with fatigue, cardiac and pulmonary conditions which keep them from returning to normal activities, including work. “The implications [of COVID] reach far and wide.”

Dr. Groover believes it is important to mask even if vaccinated. According to Groover, we see young, formerly healthy patients in the hospital, some in Intensive Care Units, with some on ventilators. Most of the infections transmitted come through droplets. 59% of transmissions occur through asymptomatic unvaccinated individuals, according to a Center for Disease Control Modeling Study.

A recent survey showed 96% of physicians are vaccinated.