Hospitals ready, despite uncertainty of need for COVID-19 hospitalization

Bay Area hospitals are geared up for increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases but so far, many of the new positive coronavirus tests aren’t followed by hospital stays.

Plant High School sophomore Caroline Danzi says she had a mild headache. But her parents also experienced fatigue, so she, her older brother, and both of her parents got tested and were positive for COVID-19.

Neither Caroline nor her brother felt more than minor headaches. Still, the family isolated at home.

“People were always asking, ‘Can you come hang out? Can you go watch a movie?'” recalled Caroline. “Even if I didn’t know if I was clear yet or contagious, it was not worth the risk of infecting other people.”

More testing is revealing more cases among young people, but many aren’t sick enough for a hospital stay.

“We’re seeing maybe a little less virulent or less strong virus spread throughout the community in a population that doesn’t' have a lot of symptoms, such as the 18 to 30-year-olds,” said Dr. Jason Foland, a pediatrician at Studer Family Children’s Hospital in Pensacola.

MORE: 5,266 new Florida coronavirus cases in Monday's update; 28 new deaths

Foland said Sunday at a press conference with Governor Ron DeSantis, even though some doctors have suggested it, a less virulent strain of COVID-19 hasn’t been confirmed in a laboratory.

So far, the recent spike in positive tests hasn’t overwhelmed hospitals, but they’re prepared.

“Should the case rate increase on the acute side and they have to enter the hospitals, they are ready to transition the wards into COVID units, isolation units, negative pressure units,” added Dr. Jay Wolfson, senior associate dean of the USF College of Medicine.

However, Wolfson says if COVID-19 were to mutate to a milder strain, it would still be dangerous, even for younger people with underlying conditions such as hypertension or diabetes.

Caroline’s family is doing well now.

“I spent a lot of time watching movies and reading books,” she laughs.

She hopes her family’s sacrifice helped slow the spread of a virus of which we still have much to learn.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


Map of known COVID-19 cases:

MOBILE APP USERS: Click here for map