JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Duval County Medical Society Foundation president urged Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a State of Emergency in regards to the spike in coronavirus cases in the state.
"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," Dr. Sunil Joshi tweeted Monday afternoon.
Joshi continued by saying hospitals need federal money and extra staff to deal with growing numbers of patients with COVID-19.
"Our hospitals, our hospital staff, the administration and every ancillary service is being overwhelmed with COVID patients," Joshi told First Coast News. "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."
Specifically, Joshi said there is a need for beds, PPE and ventilators. He also suggested the possibility of bringing nurses from other parts of the country to Florida to help deal with the strains placed on hospital staff.
"Something is going on that is making our emergency rooms overflow," Joshi said. "I had a patient who required oxygen and was being treated in the waiting room because they didn't have a bed."
Joshi said he does not blame the overflow of patients on local authorities or the hospitals themselves, rather he said it demonstrates the need of additional help from the state and federal government.
Joshi sent another tweet later on Monday evening urging people to get vaccinated if they have not already.
"If you haven’t received the vaccine yet, please do so," Joshi tweeted. "If you have received it, please talk to your friends and family who haven’t, and please encourage them to do so as well."
Dr. Joshi told First Coast News it is even more imperative for all health care workers to get vaccinated soon. Many he said are becoming burned out.
"That's why you're seeing some of the hospitals requiring their staff to be vaccinated," he said. "When staff go out, because of COVID, even if their not acutely requiring hospitalization, but they then have to miss 10 days of work, that makes it harder for staff that's existing and that is there."
Both the Mayo Clinic and the VA announced Monday they will require their staff to get vaccinated.
First Coast News is waiting for a response from Gov. DeSantis' office on Dr. Joshi's tweet.