(WMBB) – A local hospital is seeing a decline in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to a news release.
There are a total of 15 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ascension Sacred Heart Bay in Panama City, Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast in Miramar Beach, and Ascension Sacred Heart Gulf in Port St. Joe.
“The health and safety of our patients and community remain our top priority,” wrote Henry Stovall, regional president for Ascension Sacred Heart. “We are grateful to see cases decline in our community, but we cannot stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated. We believe the approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any identified risks or side effects.”
One week ago, the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 was 18 in the three hospitals.
During the surge of COVID’s delta variant in August, more than 150 people were hospitalized in the three hospitals.
More than half of the COVID-19 patients, including Emergency room visits, are under age 50.
According to the release, vaccination rates in the three counties remain well below the state average and the national average.
The rate of fully vaccinated people 12 and older is 52 percent in Bay County, 49 percent in Walton County, 52 percent in Gulf County.
More than 700,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began early in 2020.