MIAMI (WSVN) - State officials have reported several hospitals across Florida have less than 7% of Intensive Care Unit beds available, including some in South Florida.
The lack of beds is said to be due to a number of reasons including COVID-19 patients and other patients sick with other illnesses.
“As less people adhere to the guidelines, I’m not surprised that the number of cases has increased,” Broward Health Medical Center Dr. Joshua Lenchus said. “I think we need to just be vigilant and adhering to these kind of guidelines that we’ve been talking about for the last several months.”
On Friday, the Florida Department of Health reported a record-shattering increase of 8,942 cases in the state. Miami-Dade County saw a one-day increase of 1,532 cases, while Broward had a 736 case increase.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state had 71,000 test results come back on Friday, with a percent positive rate of over 10%.
The following hospitals are reporting the shortage in ICU beds:
- Broward Health North
- Broward Health Medical Center
- Holy Cross Hospital
- Westside Regional Hospital
- Florida Medical Center
- Memorial Hospital West
- Plantation General Hospital
- West Kendall Baptist Hospital
- Baptist Hospital of Miami
- Jackson Health North
- Homestead Hospital
Health officials are concerned that if residents do not follow the guidelines in place, the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to rise and deaths will increase as well.
Hospital representatives said there is no shortage of beds, and more beds can be added, but with thousands of new cases being diagnosed every day, hospitals may eventually become overwhelmed.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said most of the new cases involve patients between 18 and 34 years old.
“Young people are doing what young people do, and it’s almost impossible for government to stop them from getting together with friends at a house inside, a pool party, in a private home,” Gimenez said.
Gimenez said the concern with so many young people becoming ill is when they go home and meet with family members, they can easily spread the virus to older members of their family, who if they become sick, might end up at the hospital facing grave consequences.
His concerns were echoed by the governor.
“You are somebody that would potentially be able to spread the virus to more vulnerable groups,” DeSantis said.
U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., said the governor is betraying the people of Florida, and he will be held accountable.
“Everything he’s done so far, the results have been higher and higher COVID cases, and that means that you’re not doing enough,” Shalala said.
The alarming spike in cases reported this week is said to be due to results coming in from patients who got tested up to two weeks ago.
“We could be seeing upwards of 18,000 cases new per day, which would be devastating to the system,” Dr. Brandon Masi Parker said.
If drastic measures aren’t taken soon and stricter social distancing guidelines are brought into effect, health experts warn that it could take two to four weeks for the positive results to be shown in the data of infection rates.
With an influx of sick people, doctors also believe the death toll could start to catch up in the coming weeks.
“That’s probably what’s going to happen,” Parker said. “We hope that the deaths do not follow the same trend the incidents has, but the biology has not changed, unfortunately.”
During a media conference held on Friday afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence stated 34 states are in a stable progression of coronavirus cases while 16 states, including Florida, are seeing a rise in cases.
Day after day, testing sites, such as the one at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, have remained full.
New rules, such as a mask mandate in Miami, have been enacted since the spike in cases began.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez appeared in the city’s Little Havana neighborhood to pass out masks. He said people will be fined up to $500 if they do not follow the mandate, and they could be imprisoned if they do not wear the face covering.
“It could ultimately be an arrestable offense after that,” Suarez said.
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