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ICU beds in short supply across Florida as state struggles with coronavirus spike

Less than 25 percent of hospital spots that are set side for the most ill are now available, according to data provided by the state.
Image: A medical worker fills out a form while speaking to a driver at a drive-thru coronavirus testing lab in West Palm Beach, Fla., on March 16, 2020.
A medical worker fills out a form at a drive-thru coronavirus testing lab in West Palm Beach, Fla., on March 16, 2020.Chandan Khanna / AFP - Getty Images file

Less than a quarter of hospital beds for intensive care patients are now available in Florida as the state grapples with a spike in coronavirus cases, data provided by the state revealed on Thursday.

There were 1,371 adult ICU spots available out of 6,064 statewide, which is about 22.6 percent, the Agency for Health Care Administration showed in an update posted at 3:32 p.m. ET.

That troublingly low figure includes data from Broward County, Florida's second largest, which had just 20.9 percent of ICU beds ready at that time.

Hillsborough County, the state's fourth most populous county, had only 19.0 percent available.

According to the same data, 26 hospitals throughout Florida had no available ICU capacity. Miami-Dade, the state's most populous county, had three hospitals with no ICU beds available.

But Patrick Manderfield, a spokesman for the state's health agency, said the ICU percentages are skewing deceptively low because new beds are being added, but not reflected in the data.

"Hospitals plan and prepare for surge, although that additional capacity is not reflected on the dashboard," Manderfield said in a statement.

"Hospitals have the ability to convert beds and bring additional ICU beds online in a surge situation when necessary. Within 48 hours, hospitals have the capability to dramatically increase statewide staffed capacity in the event of a surge situation."

Also on Thursday, the state had an increase of more than 3,200 cases in the biggest single-day spike of this pandemic.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’ll be conferring with his public health experts and consider calls for a two-week quarantine against Floridians coming into his state.

Back at the start of pandemic in March, when New York City and the state were fully in the grips of the pandemic, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered that visitors from those hard hit regions had to quarantine in the Sunshine State.

"They were afraid that New Yorkers would being the virus to their state," Cuomo told reporters on Thursday. "Fast forward 100 days, now we're afraid they're bringing the virus to our state."

Cuomo appeared to fight a grin as he mulled the possible Florida quarantine.

"Who would believe this 180 turnaround?" he said.