UF Health Jacksonville CEO says coronavirus hospitalizations are up

Dr. Leon Haley says everyone should be wearing masks in public

Jacksonville, FL — A day after Duval County recorded a new one-day high of 740 coronavirus cases, the CEO of UF Health Jacksonville told Jacksonville’s Morning News that hospitalizations are slowly climbing.

Dr. Leon Haley says the increase started around ten days ago, citing the reopening of restaurants and bars.

“Our COVID volume is really only 23 patients at this point in time so the vast majority of patients that are in our organization right now are actually the patients with cardiac disease and trauma and things like that”, Haley said.

LISTEN: UF Health CEO Leon Haley on Jacksonville’s Morning News

The percentage of positive tests are higher, and the demographics of cases are lower.

“We’re seeing the effects of what happens when people are out and probably not following masking and distancing rules”, Haley said. “The masks work we know that distancing works”.

Haley says he frequently meets by phone with other hospital CEO’s and community leaders about where things stand, and about future decisions like back to school and sporting events.

When asked if leaders in Jacksonville and across Florida should consider rolling back the phased reopening, or establish more widespread mandatory mask policies, he said it should be a strong possibility.

“Right now, we’re not winning, we are losing this battle with this virus and so we’ve got to do those things, and some of those are going to be mandated, some of those things are going to be things we have to roll back”, Haley said.

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