Pensacola hospital leaders discuss uptick in pediatric COVID-19 cases

Northwest Florida

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

“It’s hitting home for all of us,” Bergosh said. “My very best friend, life-long friend died of COVID.”

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

“The reality is..and I’m just going to go there,” Baptist Hospital President Scott Raynes said. “This is an unvaccinated issue that we’re facing.”

Raynes said since July 1, 100 percent of patients at his hospital who are on ventilators and 100 percent of deaths are among the unvaccinated.

“We are seeing similar mortality rates,” he said. “We’re seeing a sick population that now is spreading. The average age has been a bit younger but the acuity has been just what we’ve seen previously.”

Baptist has joined Ascension in mandating vaccines for employees but it’s still encouraged at West Florida hospital.

Ascension Sacred Heart President Dawn Rudolph is concerned by the number of children they’ve seen come in.

“At Studer Family Children’s, we’ve quadrupled cases over a weekend but I think we’re at least over 10 hospitalizations in the community and we were in single digits easily 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 this truly is real because it amazes me every day that people still feel like it isn’t but I think the more realness that continues with this pandemic the more vaccinations we will see,” Nord said.

All three hospital leaders agreed to start releasing more data soon that will show how children are being affected.

Right now, there are 343 hospitalizations in Escambia County which is an increase of 100 from one week ago.

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