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Hospital leaders across Florida discuss need for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a roundtable with officials across the state to discuss concerns as hospitalizations hit new highs.

TAMPA, Fla. — Hospitals are busier than ever and many emergency rooms across the state are full.

Florida continues to set new daily records with the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19. According to the latest data from the Department of Human and Health Services, there are a total of 12,041 people hospitalized in the state with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The thing most of the patients have in common is being unvaccinated.

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a roundtable discussion Wednesday with CEOs from some of the biggest hospitals in the state all while Florida set a new daily record for the number of people hospitalized with 11,906 adults and 135 children.

RELATED: At 12,041 patients, Florida's COVID hospitalizations reach new high

“Right now, we have 126 COVID patients,” Tampa General Hospital CEO John Couris told the governor and colleagues in the meeting. Couris says there is no question they are busy, and the ERs are full.

“We have the most COVID patients that we've ever had through the pandemic,” Couris said. “We're a 1,041-bed hospital. That's a little over 10% of our beds devoted, right now, to COVID patients.”

All the CEOs agreed, even with high numbers of COVID patients, if anyone is having an emergency, it is still important to head to the hospital. They assured patients that there will be someone to take care of you.

“The hospitals are ready, and we're able to take care of patients in a crisis, in an emergency at TGH,” Couris said.

But another crisis is happening inside some hospitals.

They are short-staffed and losing employees who are tired. Having worked overtime for the past 18 months, some are leaving for jobs out of state that are providing more pay.

The group hopes the crisis will end soon, but say it is only going to happen if more people get shots in their arms.

“What we keep seeing over and over are cases where, had the person had the vaccine, they would never have even made it to the hospital," Couris said. "They might have been sick, might have developed symptoms but the protective effect of the vaccine really is what was missing. So, that's a really important message for people to hear. 

"Despite the information that's coming out about people that are fully vaccinated, still getting COVID, those numbers are low, number one, and they are absolutely still in a better situation than they would have been had they gotten COVID without the vaccine.”

According to HHS:

  • There are 1,178 ICU beds in the Tampa Bay area.
  • 940 of those are occupied.
  • There are currently 10 hospitals with 5 or less available ICU beds.
  • One of those has no ICU beds available.