The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida reached record numbers on Sunday, topping the previous peak set over a year ago, the Associated Press reported.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recorded 10,207 people with confirmed positive cases hospitalized on Sunday.
The previous record for Florida, set back in July 2020, was 10,170 patients, according to the Florida Hospital Association, the AP reported.
“This is the most we’ve ever had,” Stephanie Derzypolski, a Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare spokesperson, told the Tallahassee Democrat on Sunday. There were 70 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at her place of work, an increase of 11 patients since two days prior.
Hospitals in the state report that almost 83% of inpatient beds are in use, while about 87% of Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied, Tiffany Vause, a spokesperson for the Agency for Health Care Administration told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.
Florida currently leads the nation in per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19, as hospitalizations increase across the country with the spread of the more transmissible delta variant, the AP reported.
The number of COVID-19 related deaths remains lower than other periods during the pandemic where hospitalizations spiked. Florida’s 7-day average of newly reported deaths was 58 as of July 30, while that number was 185 on January 28, according to The New York Times.
The Sunshine State averaged 1,525 adult hospitalizations a day over the past week while pediatric hospitalizations averaged 35 per day. Both numbers represent the highest per capita rate in the nation, Jason Salemi, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida, told the AP.
“We recognize that cases and hospitalizations have shifted to a younger demographic because we have been so successful with vaccinating seniors,” Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis, told the DCNF in a statement. “Again, we must continue this stride to expand vaccination rates across eligible age groups. As stated by Governor DeSantis, ‘These vaccines are saving lives, and reducing the mortality of COVID-19.’”
Only 6% of people currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated, according to Weesam Khoury, communications director for the Florida Department of Health. “As of July 29, 2021, 61% of eligible Floridians are vaccinated. More than 334,000 Floridians have been vaccinated in just this last week, which is a 16% increase over the previous week,” she told the DCNF in a statement.
Only 49.1% of Florida’s total population is fully vaccinated, 0.6% less than the national average, according to NPR.
The CDC recently revised its guidance, advising all students in grades K-12 to wear masks in the fall, regardless of vaccination status. DeSantis has rejected any form of mask or vaccine requirements, issuing an executive order Friday that would ban masks from being required in schools.
“There is no reason to believe that a mask mandate would prevent a case increase,” Pushaw told the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday.
“In Florida, there will be no lockdowns, there will be no school closures, there will be no restrictions and no mandates in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said at a press conference Friday.
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