Coronavirus cases nearly double in recent weeks in South Florida

Doctors say some vaccinated patients among those recently hospitalized

MIAMI – Doctors are monitoring a troubling trend at South Florida hospitals as COVID-19 cases have almost doubled in the past two to three weeks.

“We are seeing an increase in our inpatient infected population, for sure,” said Dr. Marc Napp, chief medical officer of the Memorial Healthcare System. “The overlying majority of the people who are coming in overall are not vaccinated, however we are seeing some previously vaccinated individuals come in -- some being pretty sick.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday addressed the spike in numbers and increasing amount of younger patients.

“Look, this is a seasonal pattern,” he said. “We knew it was going to be low in May, and it was, and we knew as we got to the end of June, July, it would go up because that’s what happened last year.”

Dr. Hany Atallah, chief medical officer of Jackson Memorial Hospital, said it’s not too late for people to get vaccinated.

“And I think that may help curb some of this,” Atallah said.

But with around half of the population now vaccinated, health experts say nearly everyone is letting their guard down, even as the more contagious Delta variant continues to spread.

“It’s not just vaccinated people who are starting to unmask, it’s also unvaccinated people and those are largely the number of patients we are seeing come in with new cases of COVID,” Atallah said.

Doctors say they expect cases to continue to rise and have yet to see the effects of July 4 gatherings.

They say it’s also troubling that the vaccine is seemingly not as effective among some patients with weakened immune systems.

“There is awareness that the vaccine doesn’t work as well in patients who’ve got other immunocompromised conditions,” Napp said.

About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.