MIAMI (WSVN) - The summer surge is overwhelming the state of Florida, which reported nearly 17,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 140 new deaths.
More than 12,800 people have been hospitalized as of Thursday.
Officials said it is the delta variant of the virus and unvaccinated people that are causing hospitals to fill up fast, and it’s pushing one healthcare system to put medical procedures on pause.
“The numbers of patients are unprecedented,” said Memorial Healthcare System Dr. Marc Napp. “It’s the sheer number coming in at the same time.”
Hospitals in Florida are facing serious setbacks.
The recent surge of COVID cases has pushed some to the limit.
“We have actually opened up over 250 additional beds in our hospitals,” Napp said.
The Memorial Healthcare System is currently treating more patients than ever before and a third of them are infected with COVID-19.
“Our peak last summer was over 600. We’re at 537 today. Plus, we have, obviously a large number of non-COVID patients,” said Napp. “People now, unfortunately, who need care are still seeking it and we add to that the COVID patients and that’s the strain on the system.”
To save resources, starting Monday, they are suspending some procedures.
“We are asking our medical staff to look at the care they are planning to deliver in elective procedures and see what are those procedures that can be delayed,” said Napp.
About one in five hospital beds are available, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Right now, a record number of people are hospitalized in Florida and almost 2,500 are in the Intensive Care Unit.
Another issue the hospitals are experiencing is staffing.
“Nurses, critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, those are probably the greatest challenge,” Napp said.
“Vaccinated people have a lot less potential of getting hospitalized,” said Jackson Health CEO Carlos Migoya.
The president of Jackson Health said of the 278 COVID patients they currently have, 90% are unvaccinated.
Those who are vaccinated and still get infected have a much smaller chance of getting severe symptoms.
“Their length of stay, the vaccinated, is about a day or two,” said Broward Health CEO Shane Strum. “Those who are unvaccinated were seeing about five to seven days.”
“Florida and Texas account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country,” said President Joe Biden.
He had a message to the governors of these states, who have fought against the notion of mask mandates.
“If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way,” Biden said.
Just one day after Biden criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ response to the surge, the governor fired back.
“If you are trying to lock people down, I am standing in your way, and I’m standing for the people of Florida, so why don’t you do your job, why don’t you get this border secure, and until you do that I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you,” DeSantis responded.
In Washington on Thursday, the COVID response team discussed the recent numbers.
“Over the past 24 hours, we’ve recorded 864,000 vaccinations — the highest in a day since July 3,” said White House COVID-19 Coordinator Jeff Zients, “and importantly, 585,000 first shots. That’s the highest since July 1.”
The delta variant is accounting for 93% of COVID cases across the U.S.
Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.