Statistics released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reveal the state of Florida has broken its own pandemic record for COVID-19 hospitalizations. According to a report issued Tuesday, HHS revealed that 15,169 inpatient beds were in use for COVID-19 patients in 231 hospitals, an increase of 1,192 from Monday’s report.
According to the Miami Herald, that means the number of COVID-19 patients per hospital rose from 55.7 to 65.7 in 24 hours. Statistically, these patients represent 27.6% of the total patients in those Florida-based hospitals compared to 10.1% of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 nationally.
Intensive care unit patients shot up from 225 to a whopping 3,060, presenting 47.2% of Florida’s hospital beds versus 21.3% across the U.S. The Herald further states Florida accounts for 20.7% of America's total hospitalized COVID-19 patients and has 17.9% of the 17,140 ICU patients.
Fueled by the rise of the delta variant, the number of Floridians hospitalized doubled in two weeks and was the most since the pandemic began in March 2020, according to The Palm Beach Post. Hospitals throughout the state are under duress, and only 10% of beds in adult intensive care units were empty last Friday, according to the Florida Hospital Association.
The Florida Department of Health stated that positivity rate for COVID-19 testing rose to 18.9%, triple what it was a month ago. This indicates a worrisome increase in the transmission of the virus. An average of 19,250 people tested positive each day during the week ending Aug. 5, the most since the pandemic began, the Post reported.
Last Saturday, Florida set a new record high of 23,903 new cases of COVID-19, according to Forbes. Even though the coronavirus outbreak is getting worse, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is not changing his position against public health restrictions to contain the spread.
According to a Mayo Clinic vaccine tracker, 49.4% of Florida residents have been vaccinated, slightly less than the national average of 50.1%, says Forbes. Florida now has far more new cases than any other state in the U.S., with a seven-day rolling average of 19,000. While many states are making active efforts to mitigate the spread of the highly contagious delta variant that is currently the most dominant coronavirus in the country, DeSantis is actively prohibiting restrictions.
He signed an order to ban mask mandates in public schools July 30 and has called claims of a health crisis in the state "media hysteria."
As the airborne virus continues to infect and hospitalize more people in Florida, DeSantis has said there is nothing much his administration can do about it, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. He called the summer surge a "seasonal" trend which has been refuted by infectious disease experts.
"You have some politicians who say, 'I'm going to eliminate the virus. I will defeat it," he said. "Unfortunately, government can't just end it. Those waves ebb and flow. It's not something government can control."
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