Florida health officials transitioning into next phase of COVID-19 response


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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For much of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been reporting graphs and information highlighting what is happening with new COVID-19 cases in Florida such as the peaks and valleys.

We have watched cases and hospitalization numbers go up and down during the last year, but now that information is becoming more limited.

State health officials said they are transitioning into the next phase of the COVID-19 response. Among the changes, updates are posted weekly — not daily — and hospitals and long-term care facilities are no longer required to report COVID-19 information.

News4Jax on Tuesday checked with Dr. Elizabeth Ransom, executive vice president and chief physician executive of Baptist Health, about that.

“We are still getting information and we have access to some of the databases. I am not sure if it’s been collected and distributed at the frequency that it was at the height of the pandemic,” Ransom said.

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News4Jax asked the Florida Department of Emergency Management why it was no longer releasing hospital information. In a statement, we were told COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped 41% in the last 30 days.

To get updated numbers, we had to check with local hospitals. At Baptist Health facilities, as of Tuesday, 48 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19, with 11 of them in the intensive care unit. At UF Health, there were 18 patients with Covid, eight of whom were in the ICU, as of Tuesday.

Those numbers give a snapshot of what is happening in North Florida. Mia Jones, CEO of Agape Family Health, which oversees COVID-19 vaccinations at the state-run site at Edward Waters College, said that picture is not always clear.

“I think it’s really important for the community to realize that we are not out of the pandemic. so the less information we get, the more they think everything is good and we can go back to normal,” Jones said. “And so right now, as we start to see less and less information, it does concern me.”

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Health providers say they are still keeping watch and vital information needs to be available as the Edward Waters College vaccination site and four other state-run vaccination sites in Jacksonville close this week and next.

Address: 1840 W. 9th Street Jacksonville, FL 32209

Last day of COVID-19 vaccination: Friday, June 18

Address: 9501 Arlington Expressway Jacksonville, FL 32225

Last day of COVID-19 vaccination: Friday, June 18

Address: 5130 Soutel Drive Jacksonville, FL 32208

Last day of COVID-19 vaccination: Friday, June 18

Address: 9555 R.G. Skinner Parkway Jacksonville, FL 32256

Last day of COVID-19 vaccination: Friday, June 18

Address: 2831 Talleyrand Avenue Jacksonville, FL 32206

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Last day of COVID-19 vaccination: Sunday, June 20

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