New York — Florida on Sunday reported more than 15,000 new Covid-19 cases, the biggest increase of any US state since the start of the pandemic, and a local official expressed concern about ICU capacity at Miami-area hospitals.

While daily reported deaths in Florida declined to 44 from 95 a day earlier, the rise in infections keeps attention focused on the US’s third-most populous state as cases surge across the southern and western US.

Florida’s surge in cases — an increase of 15,300 — was bigger than single-day records recorded in California, Texas and New York, all of which were less than 12,000. It was a 6% jump compared with a 4.8% average over the last week. The proportion of positive tests in Florida declined to 11.2% from 12.5% a day earlier, according to the state health department.

Intensive-care unit (ICU) capacity is the biggest concern and “it won’t be long” until hospitals in the Miami area reach capacity, Miami-Dade county mayor Carlos Gimenez said on CNN.

“We have reached capacity in some, but we also have reserve space,” he said. “We have another 1,200 beds that we can crank out pretty fast for critical care beds. We have another 500 ICU beds that we can crank up.”

AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw said the group’s hospitals in Florida are “much better prepared in July than we were in March” to deal with Covid-19 patients.

“Based upon the testing, my guess is that the peak is sometime in front of us and in July,” Shaw told CBS. Asked about news reports that Florida morgues are close to being overwhelmed, he said “we’re not at that point”.

The share of infected people who are hospitalised in Florida was steady at 7% in Sunday’s report, which includes data collected on Saturday, according to the state health department.


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