Duval County

Baptist Health says number of COVID patients are decreasing, but are sicker than before

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville is now at the epicenter of the COVID-19 delta variant surge.

That’s what the CEO of the Florida Safety Net Hospital Alliance told the Associated Press News. The alliance represents some of the largest hospitals in the state.

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However, there have been slight improvements in vaccination rates.

According to AP News, Duval County’s vaccination rate jumped 17% since early July, and this marks one of the largest increases across the state.

Cristhiam Tirado is a volunteer who’s helping contribute to this effort.

He’s working hard to get more people vaccinated by educating the Latino community.

“We want people to have the adequate information to make the right decision,” he told Action News Jax in Spanish.

Tirado is focusing on disproving misinformation on social media.

“The groups on WhatsApp are terrible,” he explained.

“There are videos that say the vaccine is going to change someone’s DNA and make them infertile.”

The hope is by informing and getting more people vaccinated, less people will end up in the hospital.

“A lot of them don’t have access to a primary doctor, so they don’t know if they have a condition that will be made worse by COVID,” Tirado pointed out, referring to those within the Hispanic community.

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There’s been a slight improvement in the number of COVID-19 patients at Baptist Health hospitals, but there is still a long way to go.

As of Friday morning, Baptist Health had 512 total COVID-19 patients across its five hospitals.

That’s down from 525 patients on Thursday.

This downward trend became even more apparent by comparing this to the number of patients earlier in the week:

  • 532 patients on Wednesday;
  • 535 patients on Tuesday;
  • 538 patients on Monday.

A spokesperson for Baptist Health says it’s important to note that those hospitalized now are sicker than they were before, with the number of patients on ventilators increasing, and more than 90% of its patients on a daily basis are not fully vaccinated.

It’s why Tirado won’t stop until more people get the shot.

“It’s a long process, but every time someone decides to get vaccinated, that’s already a victory,” he said.

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Tirado says he wants people to know that if you’re filling out an online form to register, you can skip lines that ask for health insurance or a Social Security number.

The Hispanic Health Council of Jacksonville confirms all you need is a photo ID, which includes a foreign passport or ID card issued by U.S. consulates.

“You will get a vaccine without a problem,” Tirado assured.