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AdventHealth Central Florida resumed more nonemergency procedures today, Sept. 9, as the gradual decline of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues after last month’s case surge.

AdventHealth doctors addressed the new policy and thoughts about the pandemic going forward in a morning broadcast Sept. 9 on Facebook Live.

“This was the highest surge as far as volume is concerned,” Dr. Sanjay Pattani said. “But we have seen a drop, and now we’re on the back end of the peak.”

As of Sept. 9, the Central Florida hospital system recorded 1,120 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Last month, Pattani said, the number of COVID-19 patients peaked at more than 1,700.

Halifax Health has also seen a decline in the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19. As of Sept. 9, 89 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, with 32 in the ICU. This is down from an August peak of more than 180 patients.

The AdventHealth doctors continued to urge people to consider vaccination against COVID-19.

About 91 percent of patients hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, Pattani said, were unvaccinated. A large unvaccinated population, he added, continues to pose a risk for the development of COVID-19 variants.

Some vaccinated individuals have been hospitalized, but, Dr. Eduardo Oliveira said, unvaccinated people develop worse symptoms, on average, than vaccinated patients.

“We do have some vaccinated patients in our ICUs,” he said. “The vaccinated patients, even though they are still in the ICU, they tend to develop less serious disease. If they are on the ventilator, they have to have a higher chance of coming off the ventilator or recovering or surviving.”

While the August surge is in decline, the doctors said they will still remain vigilant, as the chance of future surges remains possible.

“We should expect surges and spikes. If you look at the trends for the past three or four surges, they usually have a window of four to six months with a precipitating factor,” Pattani said. “I think, as we have mentioned, we should expect continuous surges, and in response, the organization is putting forth a lot of intentional strategy to address it.”

Those strategies, Pattani said, have only improved since the pandemic began and hospitals continue to learn how best to treat patients and maximize available space.

But as the pandemic wears on, Pattani asked that the public have compassion for health care employees and consider vaccination to reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

“The workforce stability has been challenged by shortages and fatigue. Our workforce is tired,” Pattani said. “What I would ask personally is our community be patient with our providers.”

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