Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 fall in Florida for first time in 8 weeks

The Florida Hospital Association finally reported a decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations last week, after eight straight weeks of increases.

At 15,488, hospitalizations are down nearly 10% from the 16,973 high reported on August 19. Still, one-third of all Florida inpatients have COVID-19, as do over half in the state's ICU.

"I am extremely pleased with the trend we are now seeing," said Florida Hospital Association CEO Mary Mayhew. "Over time it will start to improve the availability of hospital services and beds."

That availability would be welcome at many hospitals, like AdventHealth Tampa, which has stopped elective procedures during the increase.

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Are we finally leaving the delta spike behind?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says new daily cases in Florida have jumped since mid-June when they were averaging about 1,500. In mid-August, it hit almost 21,750. For two weeks, the average has barely moved.

"If we get the vaccination rates up, and if we control our behavior over the next month, there is a fair chance that we could begin to pat this thing down and keep it down," said Dr. Jay Wolfson, the health policy dean at USF.

Keeping people out of the ICU will also depend on how long vaccine efficacy stays high enough to stop the most serious infections.

"They are going to ensure somebody experiencing a heart attack is quickly responded to," said Mayhew. "Others who are coming to the emergency department with less urgent needs are going to wait."

The number of new cases reported Sunday, about 13,000, is the lowest number since August 1.