COVID-19 cases double weekly in Polk County; majority are unvaccinated, health officials say

There are currently 275 patients being treated for COVID-19 at Lakeland Regional Health, which is about 100 more than the last peak. Just two weeks ago, there were only 41 patients being treated there for the virus.

"The individuals that we're seeing test positive, and come to us for hospitalization right now, are much younger and they're largely in unvaccinated populations, compared to where we had been earlier in the pandemic," said Danielle Drummond, the CEO of Lakeland Regional Health System.

Patients in the intensive care unit are between the ages of 30 and 50.

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"This is an incredibly sad and frustrating situation that could very easily be prevented by the acceptance of the fact that this is a disease and the vaccines work," said Dr. Timothy Regan, the chief medical officer of Lakeland Regional Health. "We are bringing 8 and 10-year-olds to the bedside of their parents to say their last goodbyes, people who we've extended treatment and we just can't save them, we're having teenagers in the ICU say goodbye to their parents, this is what is sad."

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In Polk County, the amount of positive COVID-19 cases is doubling every eight to nine days. There were 1,000 cases reported on Wednesday. The Polk County Department of Health says 14% of those new cases were in kids aged 14 and younger.

"So for individuals who say oh, kids don't get this, that is absolutely untrue, kids can get infected, kids can transmit infection, the good news is that children, particularly younger children are generally less ill, thank the Lord for that," said Dr. Julie Jackson, the health officer for the Polk Department of Health.

County health officials and medical experts urge anyone who has not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine(s), to do so as soon as possible.