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Confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations increase in Bay County

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Florida Hospital Association Provided a COVID-19 update Tuesday stating 11,515 people are hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state.

According to data from the website New Star, Ascension Sacred Heart Bay for the week of July 23 had 91% of its hospital beds being used and for the same week, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center had 93% of its beds occupied.

A local doctor says the delta variant isn’t discriminating and now younger people are being affected more than before.

“It’s quite disconcerting when you’re walking the ER, and you notice a 24-year-old, otherwise robust-looking young man who was working just last week, and is now intubated on the ventilator,” Dr. Amir Haghighat said.

Dr. Haghighat said the first wave of COVID affected more of those in the 70 to 90 age range. He says it’s a different story now.

“We have seen a good number of 30 and 40-year-olds with heart attacks, PE’s which are clots in the lungs, and clots in their heart. We’ve also seen patients requiring intubation ventilation in a much younger age group than we’re used to,” Dr. Haghighat said.

Dr. Haghighat adding most of those in Bay County hospitals are currently unvaccinated.

“Those who are vaccinated are much less frequently coming to the hospital,” Dr. Haghighat said. “They might be seen and discharged from the ER. They do get the illness sometimes still is not 100%. But it’s certainly better than not being vaccinated, those patients tend to have the less severe illness. The patients whom I’m talking about heart attacks, ventilator sick, maybe not getting better, are almost uniformly patients who have not been vaccinated.”

Dr. Haghighat says he did have patients in the last two days who had received at least one COVID shot or had received their second shot within the last week.

Working in both hospitals Dr. Haggihat noted their COVID units are almost full.

“I think the numbers this time are actually increased compared to the first surge of COVID-19 that we had last time. In fact, at the hospital behind us, we’re opening up the third unit now that we didn’t have to open last time for the COVID patients. We will make room for them, and we will find a way to treat them.”

Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Neil Kooy said,

“Like many other hospitals in our country, we continue to see an uptick in the number of COVID-19 positive hospitalizations with the vast majority of these patients being unvaccinated individuals and on average, are in their early 60′s.

“As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are working with our local, state, and federal partners, and balancing our readiness to care for patients with COVID-19 while continuing to make sure the many other patients who depend on our hospitals receive needed and timely care. We are following guidance from the CDC, as well as our own infectious disease experts, and reviewing scheduled procedures based on a number of factors, including the urgency of the procedure, the clinical judgment of our physicians as well as the current circumstances in the facility and the community.

“Based on these factors, we have made the decision to reschedule certain surgeries to increase our capacity to serve emergent needs in our community, and impacted patients will be notified of these changes. As we implement our surge plans in response to the evolving needs of our community, our focus continues to be on the health and safety of our patients and colleagues.

“We urge the community to become vaccinated and consider other precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The CDC points to multiple recommendations on staying safe during this most recent surge; www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.”

NewsChannel 7 also reached out to Ascension Sacred Heart and hospital officials there informed us they cannot do interviews at this time and did not provide any updated information.

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