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'We're not out of the woods yet': TMH doctors stress importance of staying vigilant as hospitalizations decline

Posted at 6:38 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 18:47:12-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare is seeing record low hospitalization numbers for both adults and kids. Doctors predict the numbers could continue this way, as long as the community stays vigilant.

"If you're ill than you need to take this seriously," Dr. Dean Watson, an Internal Medicine Specialist at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare said. "You can't go out and run and go to work with a cold and not assume it's covid. We're not there yet."

Dr. Watson said August was the peak month for hospitalizations at 419 with 80 deaths.

In September, the numbers dropped to 188 and 82 deaths.

In October, we stand at 39 admissions and 13 deaths.

Dr. Watson said the trend in people coming to the hospital are between the ages of 40 to 60, have no underlying symptoms and are mostly unvaccinated.

"What we saw during this most recent surge was the majority were unvaccinated and those individuals did not do as well," Dr. Watson said.

The surge also applied to kids.

Dr. Thomas Truman with TMH Pediatric Critical Care said the reason we were seeing an increase had to do with a child's reaction to the virus.

"The children's immune systems kind of go haywire," Dr. Truman said. "They develop this multi-system hyper inflammatory response where their GI tract, their intestines, their lungs. Sometimes their kidneys and even their heart."

The numbers for kids have significantly declined since August when they were at 39 patients.

September went down to 14 and October has only 3, with no deaths in either month.

Dr. Watson attributes the low numbers to more people getting vaccines and natural immunity.

Natural immunity is when people get the virus and build up antibodies, but Dr. Watson specified vaccine immunity better protects you because natural immunity could go away.

"Your risk related to being infected is so much higher than it is related to side effects from a vaccine," Dr. Watson said.