COVID-19 hospitalizations remain high at Ascension Sacred Heart

Special to Gannett

PENSACOLA — The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 at Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola has declined over the past week but cases remain at a very high level.  

The number of hospitalized patients fluctuates frequently, so any individual data points are only a moment-in-time snapshot. But here are some key statistics for Sept. 8. 

Medical Assistant Frances Daniels, left, prepares to give a test at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital's COVID-19 testing site in Pensacola on Monday, August 16, 2021.

There are a total of 121 people being treated for complications from COVID-19 infection at Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 a week ago was 149. 

In addition, there are five children with COVID-19 being treated today at Studer Family Children's Hospital.

The current number of 121 patients is seven times higher than what it was on July 4, shortly before the current surge began in Northwest Florida. On July 4, the hospital had 17 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

While cases have dropped over the past week, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is still higher than the hospital's previous peak of COVID-19 patients that occurred in January 2021. 

Of all COVID-19 patients coming to us for care, including visits to the Emergency  Department, more than half are under age 50.  

Overall, the infection rate in the Pensacola area appears to be very high. COVID-19 testing conducted in Pensacola by Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart yesterday found that 34 percent of those who were swab tested were found to have COVID-19. That is 2.5 times higher than what Ascension Medical Group recorded on average last year. Among children 18 and under who had nasal swabs collected yesterday, 36 percent were found to have the virus. 

In Escambia County, only 49 percent of individuals 12 and older have been fully vaccinated compared to the state average of 62 percent, according to the New York Times. In Santa Rosa County, only 45 percent of those 12 and older are fully vaccinated. 

In the Ascension hospitals in Northwest Florida and Mobile, Ala., 93 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.

"The community should know that cases of COVID-19 remain high, that the disease can kill you or cause long-term damage to your health, and the Delta variant of the virus is still widespread in our community," said Dawn Rudolph, president of Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola.  "The best tools we have available to stop COVID-19 are wearing masks in public indoor spaces, social distancing, and, most important, getting the vaccine. Everyone in our community plays a critical role in keeping us safe from this virus."