Unvaccinated Jacksonville dad hospitalized for COVID-19, warns others to take virus seriously

The 33-year-old gym manager was admitted to the ICU and later sent home wearing an oxygen tank.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Hospitals around Northeast Florida are seeing an influx of COVID-19 patients and health officials say the patients are younger than the previous spike in cases.

Most of the people being hospitalized have not had the COVID-19 shot, according to our Action News Jax Medical Expert, Dr. Michelle Aquino. She works with COVID-19 patients at Baptist Health.

One Jacksonville Beach father recently tested positive and was later in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Baptist Medical Center Beaches for two and a half weeks.

He shared his story with Action News Jax reporter, Meghan Moriarty, in hopes of convincing people to get the shot.

Donald “Frue” McAvoy was a healthy, young dad. He decided against getting the COVID-19 vaccine, saying he didn’t think it was necessary.

”I was skeptical. I was like ‘eh don’t get it.’ I don’t need it. I’m healthy. I’m young. I’m good I’m ok,” McAvoy said.

“If there’s one thing I could say to the public and everyone out there is get vaccinated now.”

The 33-year-old General Manager of a local gym tested positive for the virus on June 24, 2021. He was hospitalized a couple of days later and then put in the ICU.

McAvoy said his doctor believes he got the delta variant of the virus.

“I remember just sitting there crying and crying,” he said. “All I could think about was fighting, and wanting to get out to see my daughter.”

He was released late last week, but he is still suffering the consequences of the virus.

“I got sent home with an oxygen tank, and basically it’s used to keep my oxygen levels up,” McAvoy said.

“They’re not remaining above 90% on their own.”

He hasn’t seen his daughter in a month, because he is still testing positive. He now wants others who are unvaccinated to reconsider their decision and get the shot.

”I was one of those people that said it affects just the elderly or affects the older people that have health conditions. That’s absolutely not true,” McAvoy said.

“I hope that people start to take it serious.”

Number released by the Florida Department of Health show the most up to date data for vaccinations. The report is released weekly.

As of July 15, 2021, these are the following percentages of people who have received a dose of the vaccine county-by-county.

Duval: 49%

St. Johns: 62%

Nassau: 50%

Clay: 42%

Putnum: 38%

Bradford: 35%

Union: 42%

Baker: 29%

Columbia: 34%

As for McAvoy, he plans to get the vaccine as soon as he is able.

If you’re interested in helping his family, you can read more about his specific case and how to help here.