PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Dozens of doctors from across Palm Beach County on Monday described the exhaustion, burnout, and struggle they're all facing as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to surge in South Florida.
Just before sunrise, about 75 doctors stepped outside their hospitals and offices to stand together and encourage the community to get vaccinated.
"We are exhausted. Our patience and resources are running low and we need your help," said Dr. Rupesh Dharia from Palm Beach Internal Medicine.
The delta variant continues to fuel the rapid spread of coronavirus cases in Florida, and now emergency rooms and ICUs are overwhelmed and overcrowded with COVID patients.
"Many of these patients have decided not to get vaccinated, but when they're hospitalized they tell us they wish they had," said Dr. Jennifer Buczyner, a neurologist and director of the stroke program at Jupiter Medical Center.
These medical professionals have been on the front lines in the fight against COVID for a year-and-a-half, but they said this time around the virus is deadlier.
"This variant is completely unchartered territory," said Dr. Jose De Olazabal, the chief of staff at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center.
"It is impacting the lungs quicker. It's eating away at the lungs. It's causing more problems," said Dr. Ahmen Elhaddad, the ICU medical director at Jupiter Medical Center.
Now, more younger adults and children are also being infected.
"While we are lucky that children are affected mildly for the most part, we are seeing a significant increase of hospitalizations for children with COVID locally and nationally," said Dr. Sarrie Katz, a pediatrician with Premier Pediatrics in Jupiter.
Now these doctors are sounding the alarm and pleading for the community to get vaccinated. They said it's not a political move, but a call for help.
"The vaccine still remains the most effective and reliable way to stop this madness," said Dr. Leslie Diaz, an infectious disease specialist.
"These people are dying. It's real, it's happening, and the only way we know to prevent it is to get vaccinated," said Dr. Elhaddad.
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COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida hit 17,198 on Sunday, compared with 15,840 just one week ago. The state said 346 deaths occurred in the past week, including a child under 16 years old.
Dozens of doctors in Palm Beach County came together this morning to explain the exhaustion they’re facing as hospitalizations from #COVID19 climb. The docs also pleading for the community to get vaccinated saying it’s safe and the only way out of the pandemic. @WPTV @FOX29WFLX pic.twitter.com/ruHICn3T3a— Ryan Hughes (@HughesWPTV) August 23, 2021