WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with hospital CEOs Wednesday -- the same day Florida broke another record for COVID-19 hospitalizations.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12,408 in-patient beds are in use for COVID-19 patients in Florida.
That total represents 22.56% of total in-patient beds. The numbers are based on 232 hospitals reporting.
But the consensus among the doctors and medical professionals who participated in Wednesday morning's discussion was that, although there is a spike in cases, it is not as drastic as last summer's numbers.
They stressed the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine as the best method in the fight against the delta variant.
Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health System in Miami-Dade County, said only 12% of the current 280 COVID-19 patients are vaccinated, and half of them were admitted for other reasons.
"A quarter of those are here for other purposes and are asymptomatic and, of course, when we test them, we find out that they have COVID," Migoya said.
Migoya said that 78% of residents in Miami-Dade County have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"There's definitely a correlation with the high vaccinated counties and the infection rates in those counties," he said.
Migoya admitted that the "spike is pretty strong," but he said the number of deaths is "nowhere close to where they were last summer."
"Dramatically less," he added.
DeSantis asked Broward Health CEO Shane Strum if he's seen the same.
"The patient volumes are definitely moving in that direction, but they're not where they were last summer," Strum said. "Last summer you saw the surge, really, in South Florida. Now you're seeing it statewide. I would say our numbers are comparable to the other major health care systems out there."
Strum said only 20% of Broward Health's patients have COVID-19.
The previous record was set Tuesday when 11,515 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19. The record for most COVID-19 hospitalizations has been broken every day since Sunday.
Last year, Florida hit its previous peak on July 23, with 10,170 hospitalizations.
Hospitals around the state report having to put emergency room visitors in beds in hallways and others document a noticeable drop in the age of patients.
Florida is not shutting down and COVID-19 "hospital admissions have slowed," Gov. Ron DeSantis emphatically declared Tuesday, despite yet another day of record coronavirus hospitalizations in the Sunshine State.