TAMPA, Fla. - The delta variant of the novel coronavirus continues to spread in Florida, mostly through unvaccinated populations, setting new records daily for case numbers and hospitalizations in the state.
The Florida Department of Health submits a daily case count to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, after FL-DOH claimed the CDC was reporting inaccurate data over the weekend, daily updates stopped occurring on the CDC's website, until an update posted Wednesday evening.
The update reveals Florida hit a new daily case record Monday, with 24,753 detected cases. (Daily case counts are typically reported the following day, meaning Monday's cases show a report date of Tuesday, August 10.)
Graph of daily case numbers in Florida, courtesy CDC website
Rising cases usually mean rising hospitalizations, which continues to hold true in the Sunshine State.
About 86% of the state's 56,172 inpatient hospital beds in Florida were occupied Wednesday, according to data updated by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
Of the 48,414 beds in use, 15,449 were occupied by patients with COVID-19, the data reported by hospitals show, setting a new record for COVID hospitalizations. The previous record was set the day before at 14,787.
Meanwhile, 41 hospitals across the state reported to the federal government that they had critical staffing shortages Wednesday morning. Also, 56 hospitals reported that they expected to face critical staffing shortages within the next week.
Graph showing hospitalizations in Florida as of August 11 (Florida Hospital Association)
Wednesday marks at least the 12th day in a row the state has seen rising hospitalizations as the delta variant of COVID-19 infects more people.
A recent Florida Hospital Association poll of hospitals indicated 68% expect to have staffing shortages in the next week. Additionally, 26% reported that they will have to expand their patient care areas in the next week into parts of their facilities not currently used for care.
Hospitals across the state have been forced to cancel non-emergency surgical procedures, and some facilities have limited visitation as the numbers of people hospitalized with COVID-19 have increased.
The state of Florida stopped reporting daily COVID-19 statistics in June at the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Florida Department of Health now issues updates once a week, on Fridays. The FHA and CDC continue to publish data on a daily basis, however.
There remains no source of recovered COVID-19 patient data, or reliable statewide information on breakthrough cases.
Editor's note: The number of new cases and deaths reported each day does not necessarily reflect the day that the case was confirmed. Stats for today and previous days will likely change in the future as the state reviews more cases and updates retroactive data.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.