SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida has once again broken another record for COVID-19 hospitalizations.
As of Wednesday, 23,335 new cases of COVID-19 were reported and 17,295 people are hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 3,647 are in intensive care units.
Officials said the number of hospitalizations is considerably higher than the 2020 peak.
“Our highest previous peak was 10,200,” said Florida Hospital Association CEO Mary Mayhew.
Officials at Baptist Hospital in Kendall said they are seeing more COVID patients than ever before, including pregnant women.
7SkyForce hovered above the hospital, Thursday afternoon, as staffers treated patients at tents they had set up outside the emergency room due to the soaring hospitalizations.
One of the tents is for COVID patients, and the other is for non-COVID patients. Despite the tent setup, hospital officials stressed that patients who have a medical emergency unrelated to the coronavirus are still able to come and receive treatment.
Hours earlier, at a testing site at Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale, a long line of vehicles could be seen waiting to have their nostrils swabbed.
On Thursday, the state reported 15,402 new cases while hospitalizations lowered slightly to 17,198.
The new numbers come as the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Medical Association released a new public service announcement on TV, radio and social media.
In the clip, Juana Diaz, an ICU nurse, shares her experience working during the pandemic.
“We’re still in the same circumstances that we were when there wasn’t a vaccine,” she said. “It’s so devastating to watch unfold.”
The PSA, one of several being released, warns that people are dying, and most people who are hospitalized are unvaccinated.
“We had someone in her 30s, a young mommy. She left her husband and three little kids, ages 4, 2, 8,” said Diaz. “They’re saying, ‘Mommy come home. Mommy, I miss you.’ She’s not saying anything because she’s intubated.”
Mayhew said they aim to reach a younger demographic before the virus does.
“We are seeing 25-year-olds in the hospital who were healthy, but the delta variant is aggressive and is life-threatening to a much younger age group, and we are hoping that these PSAs will get their attention,” she said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now advising an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
There is a rise in breakthrough infections across the United States.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged residents to get vaccinated.
“The data in Florida for hospitalizations still is that the people that are admitted to hospitals in Florida for COVID and are being treated, particularly people who end up in the ICU, tend to be people who were not vaccinated,” he said. “The vaccinated share is, depending on the hospital, a small fraction.”
“We’ve got to get the message out loud and clear that the delta variant, this mutation of COVID-19, is more infectious, and it is leading to severe complications,” said Mayhew.
The delta variant is so contagious that medical experts have compared it to the chicken pox.
In Florida to date, there have been over 3 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 41,000 deaths.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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