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Hospital ICUs Reach Near-Capacity Across Parts of South Florida

As cases of the coronavirus continue to increase throughout South Florida, health officials are growing concerned over hospitalizations and the numbers of intensive care unit beds that are, or are not, available.

Last week, the state reached more than 1,800 hospitalizations, marking the highest single-day since the beginning of the pandemic, according to state records.

Some area hospitals are now taking steps to increase the amount of available ICU beds.

Bethesda East, Bethesda West and Boca Raton Regional Center are rescheduling elective procedures that require overnight stays in order to help free up space for COVID-19 patients.

In Broward, Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines reported only two of its 40 adult ICU beds were left Tuesday, according to state records.

Meanwhile, Memorial Hospital Miramar reported none available, with all 18 of its ICU beds occupied.

Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach reported that it had one of 32 beds available, while Baptist Hospital of Miami reported that six out of 88 beds remained open.

Throughout Florida, 56 hospital ICUs have reached capacity, while another 35 hospitals report ICU bed availability of 10 percent or less.

As of Wednesday morning, many Palm Beach County hospital ICUs were also reportedly near capacity.

According to the state’s hospital bed census, Bethesda West and Wellington Regional Medical Center both reported they only had two beds available for ICU patients.

Gov. Ron Desantis said this week that hospitals are seeing more patients for other issues, and then learning they also have coronavirus. The governor added that is part of the reason the positive numbers are rising.

“People didn’t all of the sudden stop having heart attacks,” DeSantis said. “People were not as comfortable seeking medical care then, so we’ve been stressing, and every hospital we’ve talked to is stressing, ‘Hey, we’re open for business.'”