Emergency ventilators, lines of ambulances waiting for open beds at Pinellas County hospitals – FOX 13 Tampa Bay

At least one hospital in Pinellas County has made an emergency request for ventilators as hospitals are overrun by COVID-19 patients. 

Pinellas County leaders say emergency systems are stretched very thin due to the spike in COVID-19 cases caused by the rapid spread of the delta variant. 

Hospitals are also seeing a shortage of ICU beds, officials said Tuesday. 

Pinellas County EMS medical director Dr. Angus Jameson says this week brings the highest level of hospitalizations they’ve seen during the last year and a half.   

As of Tuesday morning,16% of people who take a COVID-19 test in Pinellas County are testing positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, 30% of all 911 calls in the county are COVID-related with unvaccinated people between 20 and 39 are being hit the worst.

MORE: Florida sets new COVID-19 hospitalization record, topping 14,700

Dr. Jameson says daily, 40 or 50 ambulances in the county have to wait up to an hour to offload their patients because hospitals don’t have enough beds, at any given moment.

“The rapid increase and the fact that we’ve got more patients needing medical care from COVID, than any time previously during this entire pandemic is putting a strain on the EMS systems and the hospital systems,” Dr. Jameson said.  

The county says a bit of good news is that more people are getting their vaccines. The numbers are rising for those 12 and older; 65% have had at least one shot in Pinellas County and 57% have received both doses.