Florida requests 300 ventilators from federal government as COVID cases keep rising

As a result of the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the state of Florida requested 300 ventilators from the federal government, according to a Department of Health and Human Services planning document obtained by ABC News.

The request was made on Friday “to replace expended state stores,” the document said.

The ventilators were expected to be delivered on Monday, though it was not said how they will be allocated.

It comes as doctors are stressed and hospitals are tapped for resources, their beds continuing to fill with unvaccinated patients infected with the virus.

“The nurses, the physicians, they have passed burnout a long time ago,” said Dr. Joshua Lenchus, Broward Health’s chief medical officer. “This is sheer exhaustion”

Florida reported an average of over 19,000 new coronavirus cases per day last week, and more than 13,000 hospitalizations were reported across the state Sunday.

CDC metrics on Monday showed five consecutive days with more than 20,000 new infections.

Those numbers were disputed by the Florida Department of Health, however. FDOH sent out several tweets Monday night correcting several media outlets who reported a large number of cases on Monday.

FDOH later tweeted that the most recent days of new cases were:

Friday: 21,500 Saturday: 19,567 Sunday: 15,319

That computes to a three-day average of 18,795.

The daily case counts for Florida currently posted on the CDC COVID Tracker are incorrect. The current listing states 28,317.

The accurate data are as follows:

Friday, August 6: 21,500
Saturday August 7: 19,567
Sunday, August 8: 15,319

The 3 day average: 18,795

— Florida Dept. Health (@HealthyFla) August 10, 2021

Despite the discrepancy in new cases, hospitals say they are being stressed.

“We are close to 90% in terms of our capacity,” Lenchus said of Broward Health.

Broward Health has 336 COVID patients in their hospitals, with 61 new patients added from this past weekend — 96% are unvaccinated.

“99.5 percent of the death that we have because of COVID are in the unvaccinated population,” Lenchus said. “The people who stay here longer are unvaccinated, the people that are a little more severe are unvaccinated, so it really is a big difference. Even if you are vaccinated, and you make it into the hospital, the chances are much higher that you will make it out than if you were unvaccinated.”

There’s also been an explosion of pediatric patients, especially those 13 and older.

“Last year we didn’t see this tremendous explosion of kids,” Lenchus said. “I think part of this has to do with the Delta variant, the increase in infectivity of this, and the fact that those kids at least 12 and younger have not been vaccinated.”

Jackson Health System in Miami-Dade is reporting 363 patients across their hospitals. Only 37 of them are vaccinated — of those, 24 are Miami Transplant Institute patients.

Across Jackson hospitals, they have five pediatric patients, with two in ICUs. At Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, there are 24 COVID patients ranging from babies to 18-year-olds. Seven of those patients are in the ICU.

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