STATEWIDE (AP) — The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Florida rose to an all-time high of 11,515 patients in one day, according to data the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Tuesday.
What You Need To Know
- The new number breaks a previous record for current hospitalizations set more than a year ago before vaccines were available
- It comes amid a power struggle between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and local officials about school masking
- DeSantis said he wants parents to decide whether their children should wear a mask to school
- RELATED: Official: Texas, Florida accounted for one-third of COVID-19 cases reported in past week
The data is used by the Florida Hospital Association to track admissions and staffing shortages. The figures also show 2,400 of those patients are in ICU beds.
The previous day, the data showed there were 10,389 COVID-hospitalizations in the state.
The new number breaks a previous record for current hospitalizations set more than a year ago before vaccines were available. Last year, Florida hit its previous peak on July 23, with 10,170 hospitalizations.
Hospitalizations have increased 11 times over the 1,000 COVID patients hospitalized in mid-June. About 2,400 patients are now in intensive care.
Hospitals around the state report having to put emergency room visitors in beds in hallways and others document a noticeable drop in the age of patients.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis doubled down Tuesday, insisting that the spike will soon abate and that he will not impose any business restrictions or mask mandates.
DeSantis said he expects hospitalizations to drop in the next couple weeks, insisting that the spike is seasonal as Floridians spend more time together indoors to escape the summer heat and humidity.
Governor DeSantis says record daily new cases of COVID-19 is “seasonal” and a ‘media fixation’.— Greg Angel (@NewsGuyGreg) August 3, 2021
This has hospitalizations are also a record high. 10K+. Many hospitals also restriction procedures and visitors.
Gov predicts peak in next week or two. pic.twitter.com/3714w614Cn
DeSantis credited his response to COVID, which has focused on vaccinating seniors and nursing home residents, for the fact that fewer Floridians are dying now than last August. A year ago, Florida was averaging about 180 COVID deaths per day during an early August spike, but last week averaged about 55 per day.
“Even among a lot of positive tests, you are seeing much less mortality that you did year-over-year,” he said at a Miami-area press conference. “Would I rather have 5,000 cases among 20-year-olds or 500 cases among seniors? I would rather have the younger.”
He said “media hysteria” on the record hospitalizations will cause people who might be suffering from a heart attack or stroke to avoid going to an emergency room for fear of being infected, as statistics show happened last year.
“People were having heart attacks at home because either they thought there was not enough room at the hospital or get COVID and die,” he said.
Governor DeSantis said vaccinations are proving to be effective, reducing mortality.— Greg Angel (@NewsGuyGreg) August 3, 2021
Healthcare pros say delta variant IS more severe and aggressive.
TX,FL accounted for 1/3 of COVID-19 cases last week: https://t.co/9t25Z8W3Xm
FL Docs seeing younger people hospitalized. pic.twitter.com/a93fkRs1jf
The addition of 1,126 more COVID patients in Florida hospitals was announced amid a power struggle between DeSantis and local officials over how to protect children and staff as the school year begins.
Broward County’s school board voted last week to require facial coverings when in-person learning resumes this month, enforcing the latest recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the board reversed itself after DeSantis signed an executive order preventing mask mandates in schools, and empowering the state to deny funding to any districts that don’t comply.
Broward’s board had responded to the latest science on the virus, which suggests that while vaccinated people are extremely unlikely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, they can still spread infection among those who haven’t had their shots. This revelation prompted the CDC to recommend “universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.”
“Unfortunately, Dade and Broward County lead the nation in hospitalizations,” Broward County Mayor Steve Geller said Monday. “The numbers are doubling every 10 or 11 days. Geometric progression. This is horrifying.”
Gov: “I’m sick of the judgmental stuff, nobody is trying to get ill here.”— Greg Angel (@NewsGuyGreg) August 3, 2021
Couldn’t hear question; sounds like Re: masks.
Governor is blocking any mask mandates as docs say 95% of cases and hospitalizations are those UNVACCINATED.
Vaccines available to those age 12+. pic.twitter.com/7ryqSDJf5Y
The Republican governor said he wants parents to decide whether their children should wear a mask to school. He also claimed the outbreak is seasonal, caused by people gathering indoors to avoid Florida’s heat and humidity.
A law DeSantis signed in May gives him power to invalidate local emergency public health measures, including mask mandates and limitations on business operations. It also bans any business or government entity from requiring proof of vaccination.
The Broward district now says it will encourage, but not require, students age 12 and older, as well as teachers and staff to get vaccinated. It will also encourage the use of facial coverings.
“Safety remains our highest priority,” the district’s statement said.