FLORIDA — Just weeks after the president of the Florida Hospital Association, Mary Mayhew, reported COVID-19 hospitalizations were at an all time low, they are now again on the rise in Florida. .
Spectrum News 13 reached out to the Florida Department of Health for hospitalization numbers over the last month, but was told hospitals are no longer required to report the data. We also asked area hospitals with no luck. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, did provide some info to show the numbers are going in the wrong direction.
Standing in his kitchen, Dave Theobald can taste a peach but can't smell it.
"Nothing," Theobald says nodding his head. "I've got nothing."
He spent more than 50 days in a coma, losing 80 pounds, but has now been home for eight months. He’s nearly gotten all his strength and stamina back, but some of the simple things, like being able to smell, have not returned.
“I miss the smell of coffee, and I miss the smell of brownies cooking," Theobald said with a smile. "Those are two of the smells I miss the most.”
What he does not miss is being a coronavirus patient.
“I don’t want to go through what I went through again,” he said.
According to the CDC, Florida has seen an 11% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations from just one week ago. An overwhelming percentage of those patients in Central Florida are not vaccinated.
AdventHealth Central Florida hosted a Facebook Live Thursday for doctors to answer questions about the coronavirus variants, the vaccine, and hospitalizations going up in the state.
“The vast majority of folks in the ICU are unvaccinated," said Dr. Khaled Fernainy, a Critical Care Medicine Specialist. "They tend to be younger.”
Earlier this year, Theobald and his wife and children, were all vaccinated. It was a decision they made to help keep them and him, the long hauler, safe.
“I think it was a given that I needed to get the vaccine," Theobald said. "To protect myself from a second exposure, from a second hospitalization.”
From April 21 to June 23, hospitalizations in Florida continually declined. But now for back to back weeks, the numbers are going back up.
According to Dr. Syed Ahmed, who is an infectious diseases specialist at the Poinciana Medical Center, the three areas in the state with the largest COVID-19 hospitalization patients are Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami Dade County, and that at least 90% of all those patient were not vaccinated.