Florida continued to set records for COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations Sunday with federal agencies reporting that an additional 25,991 people had tested positive and nearly 16,000 were hospitalized for treatment of the deadly disease.
Since the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus began sweeping the state last month, Florida has led the nation in the number of new cases.
The additional infections the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported late Saturday is a 4.5% increase since the previous daily high of 24,869 cases was reported Wednesday. The state reported nearly 152,000 new cases for the week.
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Palm Beach County tallied 9,170 new cases during the seven days ending Friday, the agency reported. That is a 17.5% increase since the seven-day total posted Thursday.
Public health officials say unvaccinated people are driving the increases in cases and hospitalizations.
Public health officials said they are seeing younger people become seriously ill. Once viewed as a threat to the elderly, nearly 86% of those over the age of 65 have been gotten at least one shot, according to Friday’s weekly update from the Florida Department of Health.
Statewide, nearly 28% of the regular beds in hospitals were occupied by 15,985 patients stricken with COVID-19, according to Sunday’s update by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
However, COVID-19 patients account for 50% of those being treated in the state’s intensive care units. Statewide, fewer than 9% of ICU beds are empty.
While the federal agency updates numbers from county hospitals just once a week, local officials said they are feeling the strain.
Jupiter Medical Center and the VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach, like other hospitals across the state, have canceled elective surgeries. Officials at other medical centers said they are evaluating their caseloads daily to determine if they will follow suit.
The CDC reported 27 additional deaths in Florida, raising the seven-day death toll to 242. Overall, 40,584 state residents have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Nationally, an additional 804 people were reported dead, bringing the seven-day total to 3,817. Since the pandemic began, 618,591 people have died nationwide.
While Florida, the third most populous state, is leading the nation in new infections, Louisiana has recorded the most per capita in the last seven days. It has tallied 879 new cases for every 100,000 residents. Florida is second with 706 new infections for every 100,000 residents, according to the CDC.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to eliminate incorrect information. An earlier version incorrectly reported how many unvaccinated people had been infected by age group.