Reports from the Florida Department of Health indicate that the coronavirus pandemic is surging in the Sunshine State.
Over the July 4th weekend, Florida surpassed 200,000 confirmed cases, and by Tuesday, July 7, the state recorded its 14th straight day of more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases. These numbers are even higher than confirmed cases in Germany, which has nearly four times the population of Florida.
Florida’s steep rise in cases began in mid-June, shortly after Phase Two reopening began. As the state’s confirmed coronavirus cases continue to surge, hospitals are struggling to accommodate high-risk patients.
More than 50 Florida Hospitals Reach Full Capacity in ICU
According to data reported by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration on Tuesday, July 7, hospital ICUs were full at 56 hospitals across 25 of the state’s 67 counties. Another 35 hospitals reported that their ICUs were more than 90% full. This leaves only 17% of Florida’s 6,010 adult ICU beds open and available.
In Clay County, for example, home to 220,000 Floridians, all ICU beds are filled at the county’s three hospitals. The story is similar in Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populous county. A total of eight Miami-Dade hospitals reported their intensive care units were filled to capacity. This included Jackson Memorial, the hospital with the most ICU capacity in the county, which reported its ICU was 91% full.
Seminole County also reported a new record high of hospitalized COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, causing hospital bed availability to fall to 13%.
Seminole County medical director Dr. Todd Husty said during a news conference that hospital leaders are especially concerned about another potential surge in late July after people who were exposed during Fourth of July gatherings begin experiencing potentially severe symptoms.
“All I can tell you is as they went from concerned to very concerned to very, very, very concerned. I mean that’s over the last three weeks, so they’re seriously, seriously worried about what’s going to happen to us,” Husty said.
Florida Isn’t the Only State At Risk
Unfortunately, Florida isn’t the only state to experience a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Texas and California have also made headlines as states flooded with critical COVID-19 patients and rising confirmed case numbers.
Shortly after July 4th, the number of hospitalizations across the state of California were at an all-time high. The virus positivity rate jumped more than 2% in Los Angeles alone. Similarly, Texas reported more than 10,000 new cases on July 7, marking the state’s highest single day total since the pandemic emerged. Some hospitals have set up outdoor tents to handle the influx of COVID-19 patients and reserve ICU beds for the sickest patients.
Many governors and mayors are making the decision to roll back reopening efforts in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. The mayor of Miami-Dade County, for example, responded to his county’s overwhelmed ICU capacity by halting indoor dining at restaurants and reinforcing other shutdown measures.
As summer continues as Americans are increasingly eager to resume their normal activities, Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, is emphasizing his warning about the coronavirus: “There’s so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus, don’t get yourself into false complacency.”