Panhandle hospitals see decrease in COVID patients

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FILE – In this Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 file photo, Phase 3 Novavax coronavirus vaccine trial vaccine volunteer Franklyn Howe is given an injection at St George’s University hospital at in London. Britain says it it will offer new vaccinations to thousands of people who volunteered for trials of the Novavax coronavirus vaccine, which not yet been approved for use in any country. Some 15,000 people in the U.K. got Novavax shots as part of a clinical trial. While the U.K. recognizes them as vaccinated, most countries don’t, meaning they can’t travel. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Hospitals in Bay, Walton and Gulf counties are seeing a decline in COVID-19 patients, Ascension Sacred Heart said Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, there were a total of 18 patients 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 number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 one week ago was 22 in the three hospitals. 

Among all of the Ascension Sacred Heart hospitals in Northwest Florida, 92 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated, officials added.

Also, of the coronavirus patients coming for care, including visits to the Emergency Department, more than half are under age 50. 

“The health and safety of our patients and community remains our top priority,” said Henry Stovall, regional president for Ascension Sacred Heart. “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.” 

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