Multiple Florida Hospitals Run Out of ICU Beds as Coronavirus Cases Spike

As Florida health officials report another record single-day increase in cases of the novel coronavirus, new data shows hospitals across the state have filled most or all available beds in their respective intensive care units.

Numerous Florida medical facilities reported dwindling ICU bed availability on Thursday, with several reporting no availability at all, according to the latest report published by Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Palm Beach County was among those statewide regions where the availability of beds was most scarce. An accompanying report from AHCA shows about 75 percent of available hospital beds statewide are currently occupied.

The AHCA's data showed two of Palm Beach County's 17 hospitals have already filled all ICU beds, while several other medical centers reported limited availability. One hospital in Miami-Dade County has also reached its ICU bed capacity as of Thursday, and the majority of hospitals have filled more than half of beds in intensive care units. Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties have reported two of Florida's most severe local virus outbreaks.

More than 12,500 people have been hospitalized with virus infections in Florida since the start of the pandemic, according to the state's Department of Health (DOH). The number accounts for all patients admitted to medical facilities, so Thursday's daily total is unclear.

AHCA released its most recent data regarding Florida's hospital and ICU beds as the state sees a substantial spike in virus cases. Florida confirmed its highest daily increase in positive diagnoses on Thursday, surpassing four single-day records set throughout the past week. The DOH's latest update confirms 3,207 new cases identified since Wednesday, bringing Florida's total to 85,926 diagnoses overall. Almost 17,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida over the last seven days.

Florida health officials previously told Newsweek they attributed the sharp increase in cases to expanded testing procedures implemented throughout the state since it began reopening early last month. However, infectious disease experts and government leaders have warned that simultaneous increases in hospitalization numbers may signal a more serious uptick in transmission, one that could be linked to loosened restrictions for business operations and public gatherings.

The latest figures reported by Florida's DOH on Thursday showed the state's total virus case count had more than tripled since reopening procedures were first initiated on May 4. Governor Ron DeSantis permitted all state regions to enter Phase 2 of Florida's reopening plan on June 5, allowing bars, movie theaters and other entertainment venues to begin operating. Most other establishments, including personal care services, gyms, restaurants and retailers, reopened with some limitations in place when DeSantis effected Phase 1.

Responding to a rise in local cases, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the city would not transition into its third reopening phase until outbreak numbers decrease again. Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward county officials have determined their own reopening timelines separate from DeSantis' order.

Newsweek reached out to Florida's DOH and AHCA for comments on the state's latest case and hospitalization data, but did not hear back in time for publication.

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AVENTURA, FLORIDA - MAY 06: First responders from the Aventura police department and other municipalities drive past health care workers standing outside the Aventura Hospital & Medical Center on May 06, 2020 in Aventura, Florida. The caravan of first responders were showing their appreciation for the medical workers who continue to care for people during the coronavirus pandemic. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Getty