Florida has the highest percentage of inpatient hospital beds being utilized by people with COVID-19, according to Orlando Weekly. 11,863 health center beds in Florida, or 22 percent of state beds, are filled with people dealing with coronavirus-related ailments. Additionally, federal data show that around 86 percent of the 6,572 intensive-care unit beds in Florida are occupied. Of those, 38 percent of the ICU beds taken were for people with COVID-19. This is not a surprise as Florida was responsible for 21 percent of the newly reported virus cases during a recent three-day period. Florida also reported 100 COVID-19 deaths during the three days, which means the state was responsible for about 11 percent of the 906 deaths reported throughout the country.
Since the pandemic became a true reality in early 2020 39,179 Florida citizens have died from COVID-19. The state as a whole has had over 2.64 million confirmed cases. Staffing shortages have troubled state healthcare systems around the country since the beginning of the pandemic. Other states besides Florida who are dealing with this issue include Oregon, Idaho, Texas, and Tennessee.
One issue for these states is the inability to discharge patients to a lower level of care. Patients may be well enough to leave a hospital but need a lower level of care at a place like a skilled nursing inpatient facility. Many of those facilities are not taking new patients. Competition plays a role as well. Some hospitals are trying to compete with nursing agencies for hires and offering bonuses and incentives to keep workers.
A Florida Hospital Association poll of hospitals showed that 60 percent of them anticipate staffing shortages to occur in the next week or so. Also, 23 percent reported that they will have to expand their patient care areas in the next week into parts of their facilities not currently used for care. Healthcare facilities throughout Florida have been forced to cancel non-emergency surgical operations, while also limiting visitation numbers as COVID-19 cases are steadily increasing.