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Florida Peaking? Hospitalizations, Daily Case Counts Trending Down

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Tampa General Hospital
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Dr. Amesh Adaljah, the senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the next few weeks will be rough with thousands of deaths occurring.

Daily case counts and hospitalizations from COVID-19 are starting to trend downward in Florida.

Florida added 11,615 new cases Wednesday, and has averaged 11,934 new COVID cases per day, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University analyzed by NPR. That’s a 20 percent drop from a week ago.

Dr. Amesh Adaljah, the senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the next few weeks will be rough with thousands of deaths occurring.

“We saw a lot of intensity of spread related to Thanksgiving, and Christmas and New Years,” Adaljah said. “We didn’t get the worst of it. But it was enough to make hospitals, especially in places like southern California, really worry about their viability. They were running out of things like hospital beds, ambulances were being diverted, there were hospitals worried about being able to pump enough oxygen through their pipes to get to all the patients.”

Additionally, the number of Floridians hospitalized with has dropped about 5 percent in the last week. Currently, 7,135 people are hospitalized statewide with a COVID-19 diagnosis.

“It was almost a weeping moment, hallelujah when the numbers started to decline,” said Justin Senior, CEO of the Florida Safety Net Hospital of Florida.

The number of hospitals statewide with zero open intensive care unit beds is also down statewide to 49. But there are still hospitals without open ICU beds in Marion, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties.

Senior, the former head of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, said a smaller percentage of people are being hospitalized from COVID-19 during this surge. During the summer surge, 10,000 people were hospitalized at once across Florida with COVID-19.

“Deaths don’t necessarily follow infections, but they do follow hospitalizations very closely, so you want to keep your hospital census down,” Senior said.