An average of more than 550,000 Americans are testing positive for COVID every day. About 10% of them are in Florida, where the average number of new cases is higher than it has been since thebegan.
Hospitalizations in Florida remain well below their highs during the Delta variant surge. But hospitalizations are rising fast: 340% higher in the last two weeks, according to the Florida Hospital Association.
Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populous county, is seeing record-breaking case numbers which have hospitals struggling to meet demand.
The maternity ward at Holy Cross Hospital was forced to close due to staffing shortages. With new hospital admissions in Miami-Dade up 550% in just two weeks, the need for health care workers will only increase.
“That is a concern we all share,” said Dr. Nicolas Brozzi, who works for the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida.
During the Delta surge this summer, Brozzi treated 26-year-old Jada Turnbull, who spent 42 days in the hospital with COVID. For two weeks in the hospital, she was in a medically induced coma.
“I had a 10 to 15 percent chance of living,” Turnbull said.
Turnbull was placed on ECMO, a specialized machine that oxygenates blood outside the body, allowing her lungs to rest and recover.
Brozzi said spiking patient numbers and growing staff shortages are making it harder for hospitals to save patients like Turnbull.
“As the hospitals get strained, there is less opportunity to provide all these resources to the one single patient,” Brozzi said.
Turnbull told us she’s finishing nursing school to honor the frontline workers who saved her life. She also got vaccinated as soon as she recovered from the virus.
Rising cases are also disrupting some essential services like the Miami-Dade educational system. More than 1,500 teachers were out sick. School superintendent Alberto Carvalho had to substitute teach at Miami-Jackson Senior High School.
“We deployed individuals with educational certifications, we are talking about support staff, coaches,” Carvalho said.
The Miami-Dade police department is also being impacted with more than 10% of police officers out with COVID.