Jacksonville doctors report COVID-19 patients are crowding local hospitals

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville made national headlines after a local hospitals broke its record for COVID-19 patients Tuesday morning.

UF Health reported 128 people hospitalized for the virus at both its campuses.

Dr. Mohammed Reza, a local doctor who treats COVID patients says record numbers of people are hospitalized for the virus now, and says hospitals are once again overloaded with patients.

”If our hospitals and our staff are overwhelmed with COVID patients, we can’t provide the care that we need for a heart attack, a kidney stone, or elective procedures, hip replacements or knee replacement,” Reza said.

He added that he’s noticed the number of COVID patients has skyrocketed in the last three weeks.

The Florida Department of Health showed 23,562 Floridians were positive July 2 and just one week later, that number almost doubled to 45,603 by July 9.

Here are the cases per 100,000 for July 9 - 15:

Duval County: 441.9

St. Johns County: 265.2

Clay County: 320.4

Nassau County: 499.2

Baker County: 505.8

Reza says the virus is far from over.”In the public mind, it’s like COVID is over,” he said.

“It’s a false perception the public is seeing, and I’m saying it’s not. We’re seeing it in the hospital.”

Reza worries too many people think we’re out of the woods.

On Tuesday UF Health changed their visitor policy in response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

Visitors must now be 16 years of age or older and will be screened for specific symptoms upon entering all UF facilities.

All visitors are required to wear a mask and practice physical distancing.