, Fla. (AP) — A day after recording the most new daily cases since the pandemic
began, Florida broke a previous record for current hospitalizations on Sunday, as the number of patients in hospitals due to COVID-19
surpassed the 10,000-person mark for the second time
According to data reported to the U.S. Department of Health
& Human Services, the Sunshine State had 10,207 people hospitalized
with confirmed COVID-19 cases.
According to the Florida Hospital Association, the previous record was set more than a year ago, on July 23, 2020, more than a half-year before vaccinations
became widely available, when Florida had 10,170 hospitalizations.
Florida now leads the nation in COVID-19 per capita hospitalizations, as hospitals across the state report having to place emergency room visitors in hallway beds and others report a noticeable drop in patient age.
According to Jason Salemi, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University
of South Florida
, Florida has averaged 1,525 adult hospitalizations per day and 35 pediatric hospitalizations per day over the last week, the highest per capita rate in the country.
The hospitalizations and rising cases have occurred as the new, more transmissible delta variant
has spread throughout Florida and residents have resumed their pre-pandemic activities.
“The recent rise is both striking and unsurprising,” Salemi wrote late Saturday in an email.
The latest figures, released
on Saturday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, show that Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, the state's highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic. The figures show how quickly the number of cases is rising in the Sunshine State: only a day earlier, a day earlier, a day earlier, a day earlier, a day earlier, a day earlier, a day earlier, a day earlier, a day earlier,
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
has opposed mandatory mask mandates
requirements, and has limited local officials' ability to impose COVID-19-related restrictions. DeSantis barred school
districts from requiring students
to wear masks
when classes resume next month.
I signed an executive order directing @HealthyFla to begin rulemaking in collaboration with @EducationFL to protect parents' right to choose whether their children
wear masks in school. https://t.co/94ZMqObRas
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 30, 2021
, Florida's Democratic
agriculture commissioner who is running for governor
against DeSantis, urged unvaccinated Floridians to get the shots on Sunday, saying she was encouraged by the state's recent increase in vaccinations.
“We are already behind the curve and getting worse every time the numbers come out,” Fried said at a news conference
in Tallahassee, adding, “This surge is affecting and will affect every single one of us.”
Hospitals have become overburdened across Florida, from Jacksonville
According to Barry Burton, the administrator of Pinellas County, some local hospitals are already diverting ambulances to different locations due to capacity concerns, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
The number of children infected with the virus at Miami hospitals has skyrocketed, with many requiring intensive care.
Health's Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood
had seven COVID-19 patients on Friday, while Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami had 17 COVID-19 patients, including six in the intensive care unit and one who required a ventilator, according to Dr. Marcos Mestre, vice president
and chief medical officer.
Mestre said that about half of the patients were under the age of 12, and the rest were older and eligible for the vaccine; however, none of the COVID-19 patients at Nicklaus Children's on Friday were vaccinated. Mestre said that most children who get COVID-19 do not require hospitalization.
Due to an increase in visits, COVID-19 patients were once again placed in beds in hallways at the UF Health North hospital emergency room in Jacksonville.
Up until a month ago, it appeared that there was light at the end of the tunnel for many hospital workers
, as people were getting vaccinated and hospitalizations were decreasing; however, the summer surge, fueled by the new delta variant, hit Florida in July.
“That light did turn out to be a train in this case,” Marsha Tittle, a nursing manager at UF Health North, told The Florida Times Union
. “We’re taking more patients than we normally would take.... My staff is wonderful. When you walk out there, they’ll have smiles on their faces and they’re doing a great job. But there’s a sense of defeat, like they’re just defeated.”