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Cleveland Clinic Martin Health CEO says COVID-19 hospitalizations are now higher than ever before

Port St. Lucie pulmonologist says delta variant and laxed safety restrictions are to blame
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Posted at 10:57 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 23:42:19-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The CEO of Cleveland Clinic Martin Health is warning city leaders that hospitals are once again overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

"As of Monday, today, July 26th, we had at Tradition Hospital 61 COVID patients in the hospital," said Rob Lord, CEO, Cleveland Clinic Martin Health. "Cleveland Clinic Martin North we had another 58,"

He showed up unannounced to relay the message at City Hall.

"This is by far the highest number of patients we have had in our facilities since the beginning of the pandemic," said Lord. "Over 90% of people who are hospitalized are unvaccinated. Those unvaccinated patients are younger, and they are sicker than what we saw in previous surges."

"None of us should be surprised this is happening right now," said Dr. Mark Pamer, Pulmonologist. "I definitely think we should be disappointed but none of us should be surprised."

Pamer said the new delta variant is much more contagious and that laxed safety restrictions are to blame.

"People have stopped wearing masks," said Pamer. "They’ve gone back out in public. They're in restaurants. They're congregating. We had July 4th and the festivities and the festivals and the parties that we just went through 2 1/2 two weeks later. Here we are."

St Lucie County is currently 57% fully vaccinated, according to Florida Department of Health records.

To reach herd immunity, nearly 70% would need to either vaccinated or have naturally gained antibodies through infection.

Both Lord and Pamer are pleading with residents to get the shot.

"We need to work together as a community and not be divided," said Pamer. "We've all got to get on the same page with this."

Lord said later this week, Cleveland Clinic will change its visitation policy from code orange to code red, meaning non-COVID patients will only be allowed one visitor each day.