(WSVN) - Hospitals across Florida are filling up once again, and medical experts attributed the spike to rising COVID-19 cases fueled by the omicron variant.
The state has reported a major surge in positive cases over the past seven days, and it’s not expected to slow down.
The news comes as a hard push for vaccination continues across the country.
The U.S. has gotten hundreds of millions of Americans vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 519 million doses have been administered as of Sunday, with more than 207 million people considered fully vaccinated.
“I think the most important thing to do is to protect Americans. We do that by getting them vaccinated and getting them boosted,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
From Miami-Dade to Broward counties, the lines for COVID-19 testing and rapid at-home tests haven’t slowed down.
Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek is Broward County’s newest testing site location.
Experts said the state of Florida should hit an expected 90,000 new daily case count by mid-January. A University of Florida study shows a majority of Floridians will catch COVID-19 before the highly contagious omicron variant surge has run its course.
“It’ll be in the 70% to 80% range, at least, of all Floridians,” said Dr. Ira Longini, a professor of biostatistics at UF. “If you look at the infection curb, we already think there were a million infections a day right at the end of December, beginning of January.”
As of Sunday, Florida’s COVID-related death rate puts it at the second-lowest in the U.S., but hospitalizations are steadily climbing.
There are over 9,800 people in Florida hospitals with the virus, as well as 1,107 intensive care unit beds filled with COVID patients.
Those numbers are up from Thursday, when the state reported just over 8,400 hospitalized with COVID and 935 people in ICU beds.
The numbers are straining health care workers nationwide, even with the news that the U.S. will at some point this month start shipping out 500 million at-home tests.
Some critics said the guidance offered by the CDC on isolation for asymptomatic cases hasn’t helped, calling it confusing.
“This is hard. We have ever-evolving science with an ever-evolving variant, and my job is to provide updated guidance in the context of rapidly rising cases,” said Walensky.
To find a COVID-19 testing site near you in Miami-Dade County, click here.
For a list of testing sites in Broward, click here.
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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