Florida, Again, Breaks Record For COVID-19 Hospitalizations

by Joseph K. Clark

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Florida rose to an all-time high of 11,515 patients in one day, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Tuesday.

The Florida Hospital Association uses the data to track admissions and staffing shortages. The previous day, the data showed 10,389 COVID hospitalizations in the state. The figures also show 2,400 of those patients are in ICU beds.

The new number breaks a previous record for current hospitalizations set more than a year before vaccines were available. Last year, Florida hit its earlier peak on July 23, with 10,170 hospitalizations.

ℹ Florida COVID-19 Update for August 2, 2021? Total Confirmed Hospitalizations: 10,389? pic.twitter.com/yWRyZAycCv

— Florida Hospital Association (@FLHospitalAssn) August 2, 2021

Hospitals around the state report having to put emergency room visitors in beds in hallways, and others document a noticeable drop in the age of patients.

The addition of 1,126 more COVID patients in Florida hospitals was announced amid a power struggle between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and local officials over protecting children and staff as the school year begins.


Broward County’s school board voted last week to require facial coverings when in-person learning resumes this month, enforcing the latest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. But the panel reversed itself after DeSantis signed an executive order preventing mask mandates in schools and empowering the state to deny funding to districts that don’t comply.

I signed an executive order directing @HealthyFla to enter rulemaking in collaboration with @EducationFL to protect parents’ freedom to choose whether their children wear masks in schools. https://t.co/94ZMqObRas

— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 30, 2021

Broward’s board had responded to the latest science on the virus, suggesting that while vaccinated people are unlikely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, they can still spread the infection among those who haven’t had their shots. This revelation prompted the CDC to recommend “universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.”

“Unfortunately, Dade and Broward County lead the nation in hospitalizations,” Broward County Mayor Steve Geller said Monday. “The numbers are doubling every 10 or 11 days. Geometric progression. This is horrifying.”

The Republican governor said he wants parents to decide whether their children should wear a mask to school. He also claimed the seasonal outbreak was caused by people gathering indoors to avoid Florida’s heat and humidity. A law DeSantis signed in May gives him the power to invalidate local emergency public health measures, including mask mandates and limitations on business operations. It also bans any business or government entity from requiring proof of vaccination.

The Broward district now says it will encourage, but not require, students age 12 and older and teachers and staff to get vaccinated. It will also promote the use of facial coverings. “Safety remains our highest priority,” the district’s statement said. Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter.

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