By Peter D'Oench

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New figures show hospitalizations from the deadly coronavirus are down statewide and in South Florida.

Carlos Migoya, the Chief Executive Officer of the Jackson Health System, tells CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “The reaction is that not only is the hospitalization rate down but the positivity rate in Miami-Dade is down. Statewide we are running at 15 percent. The county is at 10 percent. I think we are seeing a downturn in the surge but that does not mean it is over at any rate. But it does mean less people are infected and less people hospitalized.”

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A spokeswoman for the Jackson Health System said as of Tuesday, 339 patients had COVID down from 400 two weeks ago.

Migoya said, “It doesn’t mean people who are not vaccinated are not at risk. Anyone out there who is not vaccinated is at risk of getting the Delta variant at any time.” He said 95 percent of Jackson’s COVID patients are not vaccinated. He said COVID patients occupy 20 percent of the Jackson’s beds but that is down from 26 percent recently.

“The assumption at this time is that we are doing a little better as it relates to the DELTA variant but the concern is that there might be other variants out there in the world and people being affected by them,” said Migoya.

“We just started school again and we are likely to see more children infected in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “But we feel pretty good right now we are past this surge. We can’t do anything but prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

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New figures also show that as of Tuesday, Broward health had 265 COVID patients down from 400 two weeks ago. And statewide, there were 13,629 COVID patients hospitalized down from just under 17,000 two weeks ago.

Dr. Aileen Marty, an Infectious Diseases expert at Florida International University, said “We are starting to see a drop in hospitalized patients because there is a saturation of infections among the most susceptible, the most highly behavior-wise risk group. Also, there is an awareness of what has happened that has to lead a lot of people to take precautions.”

Marty said, “As you reduce the availability of other hosts you are going to reduce the numbers of infections which in turn reduces the hospitalizations and deaths.”

But she said, “I am concerned we may see another rise in mid-September reflecting all the activities over Labor Day weekend including the football games and other mass gathering and the travel. Also, we have yet to see the full impact of universities regarding students not necessarily being required to mask up and be vaccinated.”

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“Also,” she said, “when activities change and people get back together in large groups and are in indoor crowded situations, if they are not using appropriate and proper pharmaceutical interventions like really good ventilation and consistent use of masks and being vaccinated, you’ll see another rise in cases coupled with complications from having new Variants not just here but elsewhere and then there is the impact of international travel.”

Peter D'Oench