COVID patients show regret about masks, vaccines as hospitals fill up

Hospitals like Broward Health are dealing with rising numbers of patients with COVID-19 and are being forced to limit visitation once again.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – In the Broward Health system and so many other hospitals across South Florida, the beds are being filled with patients at a faster rate for two primary reasons.

“We’ve seen people who are coming in now getting the care that they have been deficient at getting over the last year, and we’ve also seen an increase in the number of COVID cases that have come into our hospital,” said Dr. Joshua Lenchus, the chief medical officer for Broward Health.

And Lenchus said that as doctors and nurses walk the COVID wings of hospital floors, some seriously ill patients have expressed regret.

“Some say, ‘I shouldn’t have gone to that big party a couple weeks ago,’ or ‘I should have gone to the party but worn a mask, which I didn’t do,’” Lenchus said. “‘I should have gotten a vaccine when it was available.’ It’s still available.”

Out of 122 COVID-19 patients admitted at Broward Health hospitals, only two were vaccinated.

The wave of new cases has prompted the hospital to slide into a “code yellow,” which restricts visitor access.

“We’ve tried to limit our visitation a little bit, so we’ve moved back to where we were before — in an effort to try to prevent that from overcoming our resources,” Lenchus said.

The latest numbers of hospitalized patients show a younger, more vaccine-hesitant group — not the senior citizens who filled emergency rooms last year.

“With having 85% of seniors that have been vaccinated with n the state of Florida, that has had a positive impact,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “In nursing homes, the fatalities are down 95% since the vaccines rolled out.”

For information on where COVID-19 vaccines are available in South Florida, click here.

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.