Florida ICU Nurse on Surge in COVID Among the Unvaccinated: 'Why Won't You Save Yourself?'

An ICU nurse in Florida recently spoke out against a COVID-19 surge among unvaccinated individuals, asking, "Why won't you save yourself if you can?"

Over the past several weeks, Florida has seen a surge of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The Sunshine State reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases last week with 23,903.

Additionally, Florida recently saw a record number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized as data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that at least 13,747 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state last week.

While speaking with WBNS-TV, Debi Delapaz, a nurse manager at UF Health Jacksonville's COVID-19 unit, explained that the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is mostly made up of those who are unvaccinated.

Delapaz told WBNS-TV that her staff members have grown upset and frustrated over patients that have gotten sicker with COVID-19 because they are unvaccinated.

"Because why won't you get the vaccine? Why won't you save yourself if you can?" Delapaz asked while speaking with WBNS-TV.

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida is one of the many states that has less than half of its population fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. The data shows that 49.6 percent of Florida residents are considered fully vaccinated, while 59.5 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.

In Duval County, where UF Health Jacksonville is located, data from the Florida Department of Health shows that 54 percent of residents are considered fully vaccinated.

Delapaz previously worked in the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) and told WBNS-TV: "To be honest with you, I came from ICU unit, and when you see death every day, it (does) affect you.

"I had days I went home and I cried...You have bad dreams. Sometimes you dream about the patient that you take care of."

While speaking with WBNS-TV, Delapaz also noted that amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, the hospital faces a staff shortage.

"Most of the day we don't have enough staff," she said, according to WBNS-TV. "We are short even though people trying to help and pick up more days or more hours. Still, it's hard because we have a lot of patients."

Delapaz also spoke to NBC News last week and said that the first wave of COVID-19 last summer was "bad" but noted that "now it seems to be even worse."

Florida COVID-19
A Florida ICU nurse recently questioned why residents won't protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. Above, cars line up for COVID-19 testing on August 3, 2020, in Miami. Chandan Khanna/Getty