Joint Statement from Capital Regional Medical Center and Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare
The Tallahassee healthcare community is seeing a dramatic increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the non-vaccinated, under age 50 population, including many individuals in their 20s and 30s. Together, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and Capital Regional Medical Center currently have 47 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, which is significantly higher than last week.
With over 77 percent of Leon County residents aged 65 and over already vaccinated, we are seeing the number of hospitalizations in this population decrease.
“We are closely monitoring this spike in positive cases and continuing to practice the same mitigation strategies we have used throughout the pandemic to protect our colleagues and patients,” shared Trey Blake, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Capital Regional Medical Center. “Across the nation, we are seeing younger patients, on average 40-50 years old and unvaccinated, who need treatment and hospitalization. We want to ensure this trend does not continue. We cannot stress enough the importance of becoming vaccinated. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to be one of the most effective tools we have to stop the spread of the virus. It is imperative that everyone continue to take measures to protect yourself, your family and our community, and follow guidance from public health officials to help stop this new wave in its tracks.”
“We now know the delta variant has reached Leon County,” said Dean Watson, MD, Chief Integration Officer at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and Capital Health Plan. “This variant is significantly more contagious than the original (alpha) variant of the virus. The good news is the COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be incredibly effective against the delta variant. Because of this, the delta variant is spreading predominantly amongst the unvaccinated population. Many individuals feel they don’t need a vaccine if they have had COVID-19 previously. This is a myth. Past infection does not ensure immunity to variants. The best mode of ensuring immunity is by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is proven to be effective.”
While COVID-19 vaccines have proven to have efficacy rates of 90 to 95 percent, no vaccine prevents illness 100 percent of the time. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated individuals who contract the virus. However, the vaccine remains a highly effective, lifesaving tool; symptoms in these “breakthrough cases” are likely to be significantly less severe than if the individuals had not been vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best tool to protect people from getting COVID-19 or becoming severely ill from the virus, including reducing the risk of hospitalization and death.