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Where do we stand in the fight against COVID?

The week of Dec. 3-9 saw the highest number of new cases in Florida since early October.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — COVID-19 is spreading – and variants are the main reason.

“The CDC is modeling that we might have another surge as early as January," Dr. Shalika Katugaha, the system medical director of infectious diseases at Baptist Health, said. 

The week of Dec. 3-9 saw the highest number of new cases in Florida since early October, with13,530 new cases reported.

Both Baptist Health and UF Health Jacksonville have watched their number of COVID patients tick up over the last three weeks. 

As of Wednesday:

  • UF Health has 11 COVID-19 patients, 7 of those in the ICU.
  •  Baptist Health has 24 COVID-19 patients, (all 5 hospitals) 6 of those in the ICU.

Data from Nov. 22 showed:  

  • UF Health had 6 total COVID patients, 3 in the ICU
  • Baptist had 20 COVID patients within 5 hospitals, 6 in ICU.

The delta variant still dominates but nationally Omicron for nearly three percent. It shows how transmissible this new variant is, but luckily the severity is mild.

“It’s inevitable that it’s going to be in our community… I am anticipating we’re going to have a lot of people who are going to be seen in emergency departments who have mild to moderate symptoms but who can be safely discharged home to quarantine," said Dr. Chirag Patel, assistant chief medical officer at UF Health Jacksonville.

Doctors say the variants and COVID fatigue have contributed to rising cases on top of low vaccination numbers.

”When we laxed on the masking and laxed on our social distancing they cropped up as well as COVID continuing and so it's multifactorial, why we have more deaths this year," Dr. Katugaha said.

Sixty-one percent of the population in Duval County is fully vaccinated, leaving the door open for COVID to continue the spread.

Variants will continue to come so if we don’t vaccinate, the virus will breed and lead to more variants," Dr. Katugaha said.


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