A hospital chain in Florida’s Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale, admitted an astounding 1,600 patients in a single day.
At least a third of the patients in the county who were checked into the health care system Wednesday were suffering from COVID-19, The Associated Press reported.
Patients were in additional beds lined up in cafeterias and a conference center among the six hospitals of the Memorial Healthcare System, officials said. And there was no sign that the skyrocketing trend of new cases of the delta variant of the disease was going to fall any time soon. Some 97% of the COVID cases at Memorial are unvaccinated people.
The overwhelming influx is forcing Memorial Healthcare to suspend all elective surgeries.
“This is the highest number of patients Memorial has ever seen,” Dr. Marc Napp, the health care system’s chief medical officer, said at a news conference Wednesday.
“The numbers are unprecedented,” he told CBS-4 TV. “There are only so many beds, so many doctors, only so many nurses. This has been exhausting for our staff.”
Napp said hospital officials expect cases to soon surpass numbers a year ago at the peak of the pandemic. Statewide, cases are already 13% higher than the peak.
Florida reported over 12,400 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday, with 2,500 individuals in intensive care units in hospitals throughout the state.
Nearly 18,000 new cases on average are being reported each day in the state, compared to an average of less than 2,000 recorded in the first week of July. Florida’s total COVID-19 death count since the beginning of the pandemic has passed 39,100.
The most heartbreaking statistics involve children. The total number of pediatric coronavirus patients in the state is 135, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Only Texas has more pediatric COVID-19 cases with 142 as of Tuesday.
The sharpest hike in Florida COVID-19 infections over the past month has been among children under the age of 12, who can’t yet receive any of the three vaccines available in the U.S., according to an analysis by the Miami Herald of weekly COVID-19 cases.
Ronald Ford, chief medical officer for Florida’s Memorial Healthcare hospital in Hollywood, said its emergency rooms are seeing far more symptomatic cases among children than during previous COVID-19 waves.
“This is different,” he told the Miami Herald. “There’s a much higher percentage of pediatric patients becoming infected and symptomatic.”
Despite the overwhelming Florida statistics, GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to rail against mask mandates and refuses to push vaccinations even as his constituents sicken.
“Florida is a free state, and we will empower our people. We will not allow Joe Biden and his bureaucratic flunkies to come in and commandeer the rights and freedoms of Floridians,” DeSantis said in a fundraising email on Wednesday.
The number of people now in the hospital in the U.S. with COVID-19 has almost quadrupled over the past month to nearly 45,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi alone account for more than 40% of all hospitalizations in the nation.
Check out the full CBS report in the video up top.
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.