Florida adds nearly 152,000 COVID-19 cases in previous week, 1,727 deaths

A report released Friday by Florida health officials showed the state had 151,760 new COVID-19 cases during a week-long period that ended Thursday. 

The state also had 1,727 COVID-19 deaths during the period, bringing the total number of deaths to 43,979 since the pandemic started in early 2020. 

The 1,727 deaths represented a 4% increase in the overall total as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread across the state. 

Meanwhile, Florida hospitals continue to report that about one in three patients who have been admitted to the facilities have COVID-19. Of the adult intensive-care unit beds across the state, 94% were occupied on Friday, and more than half of the people occupying the beds (54%) had COVID-19.

Florida accounted for nearly 17% of the 101,050 COVID-19 patients hospitalized nationwide Thursday, according to data posted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

The numbers are being driven by the rapidly spreading delta variant of the coronavirus and the state’s large number of unvaccinated residents. 

The surge in patients has put a strain on the state’s healthcare system, with 52 hospitals reporting that they had critical staffing shortages. Meanwhile, 56 hospitals reported that they expected critical staffing shortages within a week. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he believes the pressure on hospitals can be eased if people with COVID-19 get monoclonal antibody treatment soon after diagnosis. There are 21 state-supported monoclonal antibody treatment sites across Florida that, the governor's office said, have assisted 13,000 people. 

The state-supported centers provide access to monoclonal antibody treatment produced by the pharmaceutical company Regeneron. 

Also, the state reported 21,183 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, according to data posted Thursday on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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