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Florida’s curve no longer flat amid new surge of virus cases

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Florida's curve no longer flat amid new surge of virus cases

A healthcare worker puts a test swab into a vial after testing a passenger at a drive-through coronavirus testing site outside of Hard Rock Stadium, Friday, June 26, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Florida banned alcohol consumption at its bars Friday as its daily confirmed coronavirus cases neared 9,000, a new record that is almost double the previous mark set just two days ago. “We thought maybe we could keep this thing under wraps. And that worked for a little bit of time,” Dr. Jason Wilson, an E.R. physician at Tampa General Hospital, said during a conversation with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor that was livestreamed Wednesday on Facebook. “But eventually … it caught up to us.”

From Miami to Jacksonville and Tampa, hospitals in June and July have seen their numbers of coronavirus patients triple, with new patients outpacing those being discharged. More than 45% of intensive care units in Florida hospitals were at capacity or had fewer than 10% of their beds available as of Thursday, the state Agency for Health Care Administration reported on its website.

Hospital networks are scrambling to hire more health care workers to expand their COVID units. Last week, hospitals in several cities announced they would again halt or reduce nonemergency procedures to free up space.

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Wilson and other health experts believe the spike was sparked in large part by young people who weren’t experiencing symptoms and were more likely to take fewer precautions while gathering at reopened bars and crowded beaches.

“We saw the floodgates open really for young people having what we call asymptomatic or presymptomatic spread,” he said. “Three weeks later, we are starting […]

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