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Florida Hospitals Are Filling Up As COVID-19 Cases Hit An All-Time High

At a news conference in Miami last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis insisted that the state's record spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations will be short-lived.
At a news conference in Miami last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis insisted that the state's record spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations will be short-lived.

The coronavirus is running rampant in Florida as case numbers climb to an all-time high and hospitals start to fill up. On Sunday, approximately 1 in 4 hospital beds in the state had a COVID-19 patient in it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 23,903 new coronavirus cases in Florida on Friday, the state's highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

Two days later, numbers from hospitals reporting to the Department of Health and Human Services showed Florida's inpatient beds at more than 83% occupancy. As of Sunday, 13,793 coronavirus patients accounted for 24% of the state's inpatient beds.

Florida has become the new epicenter of the country's coronavirus pandemic as the highly contagious delta variant triggers a surge in cases nationwide.

COVID-19 patients currently occupy 19% of ICU beds in the United States; in Florida, it's almost 44%. And only about 11% of the state's ICU beds are available, for the time being, compared with 26% nationwide.

Florida has also seen a rise in cases among children with at least 135 of them hospitalized with COVID-19, as NPR previously reported.

That said, as several school boards contemplated reimplementing protective measures for students returning to classrooms this fall, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order at the end of last month prohibiting mask mandates in schools. Despite the rise in cases and hospitalizations, the Republican governor has not changed course.

For the first time since February, the U.S. is now reporting an average of more than 100,000 cases per day. COVID-19 deaths are also on the rise, averaging 454 daily fatal cases, with close to one-fifth of those deadly cases from Florida.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.