FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – In reporting the latest jump in COVID-19 cases across Florida, a question keeps getting asked by Local 10 News viewers:
How many of these infected people were vaccinated?
While that data is not available at a statewide level, Local 10 reached out to the large hospital groups in South Florida to get a sense of how many of their admitted COVID patients were inoculated.
Broward Health said Wednesday morning that of their 122 COVID-19 patients, only two were vaccinated. That means 98% were unvaccinated.
Memorial Healthcare said that since July 1, its volume of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 has increased by 125% to 234 patients. Of those, 98% are not vaccinated.
And the Jackson Health System reported that, as of Wednesday morning, they had 146 inpatients who have tested positive for COVID-19, with 91% of them unvaccinated.
The precise numbers are fluid, but they indicate that more than 9 in 10 people hospitalized with COVID-19 did not get vaccinated.
Jackson pledged to publicize the percentage of unvaccinated COVID-19 positive patients weekly. All three of those major hospital groups will now return to limiting visitations because of the rising cases.
Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that the outbreak in the U.S. is becoming “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” because such a high percentage of hospital admissions and deaths are among people who hadn’t been immunized.
Florida’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked to levels not seen in several weeks, with the White House saying the state is playing an outsized role in driving up concerning national numbers.
There are still “breakthrough cases” of people who get sick despite having been vaccinated, including some in the Miami-Dade County Commission. Though infectious disease experts say that the vaccines are an effective guard against infection and the worst symptoms for those who do still get infected.
Experts say vaccine hesitancy is to blame as coronavirus numbers rise again in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and local leaders continue to push for people to get the shots, particularly with the Delta variant becoming the dominant strain.
“I just don’t understand this,” Broward Mayor Steve Geller told Local 10 News. “We are in the middle of an exploding health crisis which is entirely preventable. The hospitalizations are preventable. I am horrified and hope that people will fix this, will protect themselves, their friends, their family, their community and their country and do the patriotic thing and get vaccinated.”
Miami-Dade County issued a joint news release Tuesday from several county leaders, urging residents to get vaccinated.
Of Florida’s eligible population (ages 12 and older), 59% of people are vaccinated, the state said Friday.
Miami-Dade (75%), Broward (67%), Monroe (69%) and Palm Beach (63%) counties all have higher vaccination rates than the state average.
For information on where COVID-19 vaccines are available, click here.
Assignment desk editor Kerry Weston contributed to this report.