Florida coronavirus: 52 hospitals max out ICU capacity as cases increase

Investigations

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A total of 52 Florida hospitals had no available intensive care unit beds on Friday – including six facilities in Hillsborough County – as coronavirus cases rise throughout the state.

Florida hit a new record overnight as 435 more people were hospitalized for coronavirus. Late Friday, Florida finally released a breakdown of coronavirus hospitalizations per county.

As hospitalizations increase, deaths and cases climbed this week too.

Multiple frontline workers tell 8 On Your Side they’re worried about what’s around the corner.

One of them is Linda White, a surgical tech in St. Petersburg.

“We’re really at a peak now,” said White.

According to state data, there were just 23 ICU beds available in Pinellas County as of 5 p.m. Friday.

“The mood is uncertainty, we don’t really know when it’s going to end or how it’s going to end or how it’s going to affect us,” said White.

At a news conference on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state still has thousands of empty beds.

“We’ve got the census today, I think between 10 and 12 or 13 thousand – somewhere like that – beds are available,” said Gov. DeSantis. “There’ll be articles saying ‘oh my gosh, they’re at 90%.’ Well, that’s how hospitals normally run.”

As he sends 100 contract nurses to Tampa Bay, Gov. DeSantis is urging Floridians to seek medical help for all emergencies — COVID and non-COVID related.

“We have a situation where you’ve got a lot of beds available. No major system, or nobody that we’ve seen yet, has even gone to a surge level,” said Gov. DeSantis.

On the job for nearly 20 years, White hopes the surge never comes.

“We’re just going into work headstrong and trying to do the best that we can do to get through this dilemma together,” said White. “Please wear your mask.”

If you are a frontline healthcare worker and you would like to share your story, please send an email to Mahsa Saeidi at MSaeidi@WFLA.com

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