53 Florida hospitals run out of ICU beds in throes of pandemic

  • Florida has experienced a dramatic rise in coronavirus cases since mid-June and is now the third-worst-hit state in the US.
  • More than 50 hospitals in Florida have maxed out their intensive care unit capacity, according to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration.
  • On Monday, the Florida Education Association slapped Gov. Ron DeSantis with a lawsuit over his order to reopen schools and resume in-person classes as soon as August.
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Florida hospitals are running dangerously low on ICU beds as coronavirus cases continue to tick upward.

Nearly 360,400 people in the Sunshine State have been infected by COVID-19 and more than 5,000 have died, making it the third-hardest-hit state in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Florida’s caseload began to surge in mid-June: It crossed 2,000 new daily cases on June 13, 3,000 on June 18, 4,000 on June 20, 5,000 on June 24, 8,000 on June 26, 9,000 on June 27, and 10,000 on July 2, and 11,000 on July 4. The state reported its highest single-day increase on July 12: 15,300 cases.

Deaths are also on the rise. Florida surpassed 100 new daily fatalities for the first time on July 9 and set a record high of 156 deaths on July 16. 

And, according to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, the state’s medical infrastructure is struggling to bear the stress of these surges.

As of Monday, 1,112 — or 18% — of the state’s 6,136 intensive care units are unoccupied alongside 14,156 — or about 23% — of 60,069 hospital beds. Currently, nearly 9,500 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, the agency reported.

At least 53 medical facilities in the state no longer have ICU beds available. Of those, eight are located in Miami-Dade County, where Miami is located, followed by seven in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located.

Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has been echoing President Donald Trump’s edict that schools need to reopen in the fall. Despite the fact that coronavirus cases are climbing rapidly, DeSantis said earlier in July that schools should resume in-person classes in August.

On Monday, the Florida Education Association joined several teachers and parents to sue DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to ensure “a lawful and safe reopening.”

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