Florida reached another grim milestone on Sunday when it broke a previous record for COVID-19 hospitalizations that was set before vaccines were available.
The new hospitalization record came a day after the state recorded the most new daily COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, the Associated Press reported.
As of Sunday, Florida had 10,207 hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19, according to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services data.
The previous record was 10,170 on July 23, 2020, more than six months before vaccinations started becoming widely available, Florida Hospital Association figures show.
Florida now has the most per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the United States, putting a heavy strain on hospitals, the AP reported.
On Saturday, there were a record-setting 21,683 new COVID-19 cases in the state.
Florida averaged 1,525 adult hospitalizations and 35 daily pediatric hospitalizations a day in the past week. Both are the highest per capita rate in the nation, Jason Salemi, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida, told the AP.
“The recent rise is both striking and not-at-all surprising,” Salemi said.
The more transmissible Delta variant has spread throughout Florida just as residents have resumed pre-pandemic activities. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has ruled out mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements, and on Friday he said that school districts could not require students to wear masks when classes resume next month.
But wearing masks in schools might be a good idea, since there has been an unexpected rise in the number of children with the coronavirus at hospitals in Miami, many of them requiring intensive care, the AP reported.
Memorial Health’s Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood had seven patients with COVID-19. At Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, there were 17 patients with COVID-19 on Friday, including six in the ICU and one who needed a ventilator, Dr. Marcos Mestre, vice president and chief medical officer, told the Miami Herald.
About half of the patients were under 12, Mestre said, and the rest were older and eligible for the vaccine. But none of the patients with COVID-19 at Nicklaus Children’s on Friday were vaccinated. Most children who get COVID-19 do not need hospitalization, Mestre added.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID-19.