According to multiple reports, Florida ICU beds are nearing capacity as COVID-19 quickly spreads throughout The Sunshine State. More than 84 percent are now occupied and the rate of coronavirus cases is steadily climbing. 

This week Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempted to dampen talks of the pandemic’s spread by saying the outbreak had stabilized, but official reports show that a surge in cases has led to an inability to adequately address patients in some of the state’s hospitals. Over the weekend nearly 11,500 cases were reported in a single day. That’s the greatest single-day increase for the state since the state of the pandemic.

Since then 7,300 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday and nearly 10,000 on Wednesday. Of the 5,321 adult ICU beds throughout all counties, just 901 were available as of Wednesday morning. And in at least 25 of Florida’s 67 counties, there are absolutely no ICU beds left. In March, just eight of Florida’s counties had patients infected with the novel coronavirus. Today, all counties are reeling from its effects. 

To help combat the spread, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giminez has enacted an emergency order to close indoor dining halls. Gyms are allowed to stay open. And DeSantis has extended Florida’s state-of-emergency order for another  60 days. It calls on residents to voluntarily home-isolate and limit face-to-face contact, among other actions.

Despite emerging as an epicenter for the virus, Florida is still expected to reopen schools full-time next month. On Tuesday, Fedrick Ingram, president of the Florida Education Association, told CNN, “We’ve been given no guidance. We’ve been given no regulations that make sense to reopen our schools, and in the middle of a pandemic, we’re being told we have to reopen schools come hell or high water.”

ICU beds are nearly at capacity but schools like the one pictured are being ordered to reopen.
HIALEAH, FL – JULY 7: An exterior view of Country Club Middle School on July 07, 2020, in Hialeah, Florida. Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an emergency order Monday, requiring all schools to open in the fall, even as cases of the coronavirus continued to surge in the state. (Photo: Johnny Louis/Getty Images)

The decision aligns with Donald Trump’s mandate to open schools this fall. The administration has threatened to cut off federal funding to educational institutions that do not oblige.

ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as for tips on taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.

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