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Here's Florida's response to Jacksonville doctor calling on Gov. DeSantis to declare State of Emergency amid COVID resurgence

"DOH has been consistent in that the most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated." - Tiffany Vause, Deputy Chief of Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The state is responding a day after the Duval County Medical Society Foundation president urged Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a State of Emergency in response to the spike in coronavirus cases here.

RELATED: Here's what could happen if Gov. DeSantis declares State of Emergency amid Florida's COVID resurgence

Dr. Sunil Joshi told First Coast News on Monday, "Our hospitals, our hospital staff, the administration and every ancillary service is being overwhelmed with COVID patients. That peak is happening at a much, much more steeper rate than it did at any time last year, and that is overwhelming our system."

Joshi also tweeted: "Is it time for Governor to declare a state of emergency/public health emergency in Florida regarding COVID-19 hospitalizations with what we are seeing here? Yes." 

First Coast News reached out to the governor's office in an effort to get the state's planned response to Florida's COVID resurgence, which is getting attention around the US.

"Florida hospitals currently report that 81.94% of their inpatient beds are currently in use and 14.94% of those inpatient beds currently in use are for COVID-19. There are currently 82.2% of ICU beds in use in Florida, and a total of 26.26% of the ICU beds in use are in use for COVID specifically," Tiffany Vause, Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration's deputy chief of staff, stated in an email to First Coast News.

The email continued:

"The peak date for COVID hospitalizations in Florida was reported on July 22, 2020. At that point in time 79.1% of class 1 hospital inpatient beds were in use, with 27.4% of those beds in use occupied by a patient being treated for COVID. Additionally, on July 22, 2020, a total of 84.4% of ICU hospital beds were in use and 37.5% of ICU beds in use were occupied by a patient being treated for COVID.

We certainly want to remind communities that the federal public health emergencies are still in place, allowing hospitals to be flexible with their screening of patients, bed flexibilities, etc. Click here for more information on those. Additionally, not-for-profit hospitals can apply for funding through FEMA to receive assistance with paying for additional staffing.

The Florida Department of Health has spearheaded outreach campaigns to encourage Floridians to get vaccinated. Because of the success with vaccination rates in our most vulnerable populations, 84% of individuals 65 and older, we have seen decreases in cases and deaths. Since vaccinations were initially available in December 2020:

  • Deaths in long-term care facilities have reduced by 97%.
  • Deaths overall have reduced by 95%.
  • Deaths in individuals over 65 have decreased by 96%.

DOH has been consistent in that the most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated."