Hospitalizations down significantly in Delta surge

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Walton, Bay and Gulf counties, down to 115 this week, mark a significant decline in hospitalizations since the new surge of cases, which began in July, according to a Sept. 1 press release from Ascension Sacred Heart. 


Last week there were 136 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the three hospitals, part of a surge attributable o the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta Variant. The week before that, there were 154.


The number of hospitalized patients fluctuates frequently, so any individual data points are only a moment-in-time snapshot,” read the release.


Ascension maintains “the approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any identified risks or side effects.


“The most effective ways of protecting each other are to wear masks in indoor spaces and get vaccinated to protect you, your loved ones and the community,” the healthcare organization said in the release. 


Between Aug. 20 and Aug. 26, 128 Gulf County residents received the vaccine, so that at present, 49 percent of the county’s eligible population had been vaccinated, according to data from the Florida Department of Health. 


About 23 percent of those tested for COVID-19 returned positive results, slightly lower than the cumulative average of 24.9 percent since the beginning of the pandemic. 


The press release from Ascension said 54 percent of the COVID-19 patients seeking care from them were under 50 years old.  


Gulf District Schools reported a spike in cases among students and staff, and Superintendent Jim Norton on Tuesday announced schools would be closed for the remainder of the week and reopen after Labor Day. 


“We are working in tandem with local health authorities,” he wrote in a news release. “This will prevent our students from getting further behind on course work and provide those who are ill the opportunity to rest and heal.” 

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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