What to Know
- 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 released Tuesday
- The figures also show 2,400 of those patients are in ICU beds
- The news comes as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed that there will be no shutdowns in the state despite the hospitalizations
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.
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.
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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.
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.
At a news conference in Miami-Dade County Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed that there would be no shutdowns in the state despite the increasing hospitalizations.
"We're not shutting down, we're gonna have schools open, we're protecting every Floridian's job," DeSantis said at the news conference at the Shark Valley Visitor Center. "These interventions have failed time and time again throughout this pandemic, not just in the United States but abroad. They have not stopped the spread and particularly with Delta which is even more transmissible, if it didn't stop it before, it definitely ain't gonna stop it now."
DeSantis reiterated his view that the surge is seasonal, caused by people gathering inside to avoid the summer heat and humidity. He has barred local governments and school districts from imposing mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements.
The governor said while some parts of the state are seeing hospitalizations that exceed what they had last summer, other areas where vaccination rates are high are seeing hospitalizations below last summer's wave. He said the median age of those hospitalized is also lower.
"Places like Miami-Dade, Jackson Hospital System, one of the largest in the country, their COVID-positive patients are about half of what they were during last summer's wave right now," DeSantis said.
DeSantis said emergency room visits for COVID-like illnesses went up sharply in July but it appeared that they were plateauing, and said though hospital admissions have slowed, the state likely hasn't reached its peak.
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. “Would I rather have 5,000 cases among 20-year-olds or 500 cases among seniors? I would rather have the younger.”
DeSantis 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.
Hospitals around the state report putting emergency room patients in beds in hallways and are documenting a noticeable drop in the age of patients. Some hospitals are again banning visitors or postponing elective surgeries.