Pensacola hospital leaders discuss uptick in pediatric COVID-19 cases

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Three hospital presidents joined Escambia County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh to discuss COVID-19 over his monthly coffee with a Commissioner via Zoom.

“It affects us all,” Bergosh said. “My very best friend, lifelong friend died of COVID.”

He had a very candid talk with them about the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

“The reality is…and I’m just going there,” Baptist Hospital president Scott Raynes said. “This is an unvaccinated problem that we face.”

Raynes said as of July 1, 100 percent of the patients in his hospital who are on a ventilator and 100 percent of the deaths are unvaccinated.

“We’re seeing similar death rates,” he said. “We see a diseased population that is now spreading. The average age was slightly younger, but the sharpness is exactly what we have seen before.”

Baptist has joined Ascension in mandating vaccines for workers, but it’s still being encouraged at the West Florida hospital.

Ascension of the Sacred Heart President Dawn Rudolph is concerned about the number of children they have seen enter.

“At Studer Family Children’s, we quadrupled the number of cases in a weekend, but I think we have at least more than 10 community hospitalizations and we were in single-digit easy observation cases that first wave,” Rudolph said.

West Florida Hospital president Gay Nord joined her colleagues in encouraging vaccinations to end the pandemic.

“I think the more people realize that this is real because it amazes me every day that people still feel like it isn’t, but I think the more realism continues with this pandemic, the more vaccinations we will get.” see,” said Nord.

All three hospital leaders agreed to release more data soon showing how children are affected.

There are currently 343 hospitalizations in Escambia County, 100 more than a week ago.

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