JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Families battling COVID-19 now say they wish they had been vaccinated.
UF Health Jacksonville hit its highest number of COVID-19 patients this week, mostly people who never got the vaccine. It's not just taking a toll on patients; UF Health Jacksonville's director of infection prevention said health care workers are getting burnt out.
"It's just something that we just didn't do right away, but it's definitely now something that we are going to want to get," Amanda Beinborn said about getting a vaccine.
Beinborn said she and her family members kept wanting to do more research before getting a vaccine. They never did. When Beinborn tested positive, her family followed.
"My mom at first was not doing very well," she said. "We did have some scares where we would think that she was on her final days. Her fever spiked up to 103.7 and this is before we even got her to the hospital."
Beinborn's brother is still on oxygen.
"We're just still keeping him on the oxygen for now because he will get very fatigued and get very out of breath just from walking from one side of the house to the other," Beinborn said.
Her family isn't the only one with regrets about not getting vaccinated.
“I’m having to remind myself how to relearn to breathe,” James Owen said between coughs in his hospital bed. “Now that I have had the full cycle of symptoms, I would definitely have opted to get it.”
Owen is 41 years old.
UF Health Jacksonville reports they have more than 130 COVID-19 patients, the highest number since the pandemic began, with 40 in the ICU. The nursing manager at UF Health North said it's the worst she's ever seen, with more patients who are younger coming in faster.
They are mostly unvaccinated people.
"No one should have to go through this," Beinborn said. "It's definitely real. It's definitely something that happens and it can be prevented if we would have taken better precautions for sure."