ORLANDO, Fla. – As Florida continues to see high numbers of COVID-19 cases, Orange County health officials said some morgues at its hospitals have hit capacity.
“We were made aware that some of our hospitals are at capacity,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said during a news conference Thursday. “We are working to try to understand how we may be able to offer some relief in that regard, it is undefined at this time.”
[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
According to the Central Florida Disaster Medical Coalition, 14 portable morgues have been purchased for hospitals across Central Florida to help with capacity issues. Three of those went to the AdventHealth hospital system and three went to Orlando Health.
Dr. Raul Pino, of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, said an increase in deaths was expected as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the county.
AdventHealth officials said they believe they are starting to see a decline in new COVID-19 cases, though they warned that a three-day decrease is not enough time to show a complete trend. On Monday, AdventHealth posted online that it was caring for 1,654 patients across its hospital system. As of Thursday, that number had dropped to 1,380 patients.
“I think this is all relatively good news, but we’re certainly hopeful that this is the beginning of that downward curve and consistent with what we’ve seen with the models,” said Dr. Neil Finkler, chief clinical officer for AdventHealth.
Amid the surge in cases, a judge on Friday ruled on a lawsuit challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning student mask mandates. Leading up to a decision in the case, 10 counties moved forward with requirements for face coverings, despite threats of funding cuts, as cases in their respective areas continued to surge.
Orange County, Central Florida’s largest school district, enacted a mandate for 60 days after the district saw its highest number of cases reported in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic.
Earlier this week, the U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. This decision opened the way for more universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory.
COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. were initially rolled out under the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization, which allows the agency to speed the availability of medical products during public health emergencies. Pfizer said the U.S. is the first country to grant full approval of its vaccine, in a process that required a 360,000-page application and rigorous inspections.
Pfizer is also now seeking approval of its booster shot for everyone 16 and older. Johnson & Johnson announced earlier this week another dose of its vaccine “generated a rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies,” adding that it was nine-fold higher than 28 days after the first dose.
[READ THE LAST COVID-19 REPORT: Florida seeing 21,445 new COVID infections per day as mask debate heats up]
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Aug. 27.
The Florida Department of Health reported 151,760 new cases on Friday that occurred during the past week, bringing the state’s overall total to 3,179,714 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020. That is an average of 21,680 new infections reported per day.
Even though the Florida DOH released numbers once a week, the state is still reporting daily infections to the CDC. Below is the CDC daily number, which is 24 hours behind.
Florida reported 389 new virus-related deaths Friday from the past week but the cumulative death toll of 43,979 actually shows there have been 1,727 new deaths added to the state total. The state has not provided any information as to when these deaths occurred.
The state stopped reporting the number of non-residents who died in Florida with its new weekly reporting method.
The state Agency for Health Care Administration deleted its current COVID-19 hospitalization database and the state is no longer reporting how many patients have been hospitalized with the virus. However, Florida is still required to report that information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC continues to release that information online. The most recent hospital numbers show 15,952 adult and 211 pediatric patients in Florida.
The DOH reported the percent of positive results from coronavirus tests was 16.8% but did not provide how many people were tested during the past week. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.
The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December 2020 on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state. In the new weekly reports, the state is combining the vaccination data with the COVID-19 infection numbers.
FDOH reports 10,785,185 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.
During the past week, 184,753 new people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Central Florida region
The state is no longer providing a breakdown of county-by-county deaths or hospitalizations as of June 3. The Florida DOH is also no longer providing county numbers for non-residents who have tested positive, causing the total case numbers to drop significantly, in some counties by more than 1,000 cases.
For example, with non-resident positive cases as of June 3, Orange County had reported a total of 143,198 but with the state’s new reporting method, the county has 141,941 total cases, a difference of 1,257 positive cases.
Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases and new vaccination numbers between Aug. 20-Aug. 26, 2021.
|County||Total cases as of Aug. 26||New cases since Aug. 20||Total people vaccinated||Percent of 12+ population vaccinated|