26% of Florida’s hospital beds remain open

Some counties at capacity; 1/3 of Duval County beds remain available

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File photo (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

About 74% of the state’s hospital beds and about 79% of adult intensive-care unit beds were occupied Sunday as Florida faces a continuing surge in COVID-19 cases, according to information posted online by the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

The availability of beds, however, varies at the county level. In Miami Dade County, for example, 24% of hospital beds were available countywide, and 26% of adult ICU beds were available. In Broward County 23 percent of hospital beds were available, but about 17% of adult ICU beds were available. And in Palm Beach County, about 25% of general hospital beds were available, while about 24% of adult ICU beds were available.

In Northeast Florida, nearly 34% of beds in Duval County were available as of Sunday and more the half the beds in Nassau County and St. Johns County hospitals were available. But Clay County reported 22% availability, Alachua County had 19% of beds available and Baker County reported 15% availability.

Hospitals report the numbers of beds into the state’s Emergency Surveillance System, which then can be used by the public to review the availability of health resources. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration came under fire this week about data collection after The News Service of Florida reported that hospitals were being told to alter how they submit data about ICU beds. Instead of reporting to the state the number of ICU beds occupied, the DeSantis administration asked hospitals to report the beds as being occupied if a patient required ICU-level services.

Meanwhile Friday, the state Department of Health reported 8,942 new positive COVID-19 cases and that the median age of COVID-19-positive people in Florida is now 42.