Hospital CEOs, DeSantis Discuss Rise in COVID Cases


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a roundtable discussion with the CEOs of some of Florida’s largest hospitals to discuss the recent rise in COVID cases.

While they are definitely seeing increased cases, the CEOs said the delta variant is making its way through a younger population, who they said are more suited to deal with the effects of and recover from the virus.

“It’s skewing younger. They are not as sick,” said Tampa General CEO John Couris.

The hospital heads also noted one of the recent developments to help treat COVID-positive patients has been monoclonal antibody therapy. DeSantis said they have treated over 1,600 patients in Florida with the new therapy. Specifically, it could be a help for fully vaccinated patients with breakthrough infections.

“I think the message is just simply that if this is going to work, you really got to do it early,” DeSantis said. “If you test positive and kind of just wait and hope that it doesn’t get worse and then it starts to get very severe, by that time doing an monoclonal antibody treatment is probably not going to be something that turns the tide.”

Couris also noted the extremely high success rate of the therapy.

“It’s very effective,” Couris said. “Anecdotally, almost 100% of our patients have told us that 24 to 48 hours (after treatment) they feel much better and symptoms start to subside.”

While the cases are rising, the CEOs noted the push last year to get the seniors vaccinated first was a successful effort as fewer elderly Floridians are being admitted to the hospital for COVID infections.

“I would say overall, governor, we absolutely did see the benefit of that hard push to vaccinate the older populations in our communities,” said Dr. George Ralls, chief medical officer for Orlando Health.

The hospital administrators also pointed out the vast majority of COVID inpatients are unvaccinated, which reflects the younger population. They also stressed how they might be suspended elective procedures as hospitals are facing staffing issues.

“There is no question, governor, that our emergency rooms are full, and we are busy,” Couris said.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips. 







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