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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Shands hospital halts media availability as county COVID-19 cases drop

Alachua's new positive cases and positivity rates dropped this week


COVID-19 cases in Alachua County dropped in the last week — continuing the downward trend that began at the end of January.

As the surge settles, UF Health Shands Hospital CEO Ed Jimenez ended his weekly updates to the press, including The Alligator, on Monday.  

These media availabilities provided updates on the hospital and its response to the impacts of omicron. COVID-19 hospitalization numbers will continue to be available through Ken Garcia, UF Health spokesperson.

This semester, meetings began on Jan. 4 and were held weekly. 

However, COVID is unpredictable, he said. 

“So I would love to tell you that we’re not going to see any more surges, that there’s going to be no more variants,” he said. “But hey, I'm not a scientist… and I haven’t heard from the scientists that that’s the case.”

New positive cases in Alachua fell from 2,330 in the previous week to 1,297 in the week of Feb. 11, according to the county COVID dashboard.

“Today's weekly COVID numbers continue to move in the right direction for the fourth week in a row,” a county Facebook post read.

The positivity rate dropped from 24% in the week of  Feb. 4 to 15.6% last week, according to the dashboard.

Adult hospitalizations fell from 276 last week to 206 as of Monday, according to the county dashboard. There are 42 adults in the Intensive Care Unit compared to 50 on Feb. 7. There are 11 patients on ventilators as of Monday, about 90% of which are unvaccinated according to the county’s Facebook page.

Last week, 147 people were vaccinated, according to the county dashboard. 

On Tuesday, Shands had 108 COVID-positive patients, Jimenez said. Of those, 32 are being treated in the ICU or Intermediate Care Unit. Eight patients are under 18-years-old, and of those, two are in the ICU.

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“From last Monday, to this Monday, the numbers have dropped dramatically,” Jimenez said. So we are focused on this idea that we’re headed in a really good direction.” 

Eighty patients are no longer infectious but continue to receive care, Jimenez said. Of the hospitalized patients, 73% are unvaccinated.

Contact Lucille Lannigan Contact her on Twitter @lucillelannigan.

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Lucille Lannigan

Lucy is a senior journalism major and the metro editor for The Alligator. She has previously served as a news assistant and the East Gainesville reporter for the metro desk as well as the health and environment reporter on the university desk. When she’s not doing journalism you can find her painting or spending time outside.

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