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Deaths Rise in Florida. An Expert Says Peak is Ahead

'Everybody is exhausted,' nurse says, as hospitals scramble for staff
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2020 3:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – Already in a horrible situation in its battle with the coronavirus, Florida has taken a turn for the worse. The state reported 132 deaths Tuesday, the most in one day yet, and 9,194 new confirmed cases. There were 15,300 cases Sunday, by far the highest one-day total for any state. An expert compared the disease's toll to that during the early days of the pandemic in China, where it began, NPR reports. "Miami is now the epicenter of the pandemic," said an infectious disease expert at the University of Miami. "What we were seeing in Wuhan ... five months ago, now we are there." Hospitalizations are up, as well. The outbreak's peak could still be another three weeks away, says Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health System, "and that is a very tough three weeks." COVID-19 has killed 4,409 Floridians, per WFLA. Florida was one of the first states to relax coronavirus restrictions.

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A nurse at a hospital near Miami said it's "been crazier than at the beginning of the pandemic," per the Daily Beast, adding, "Everybody is exhausted." Migoya says his hospitals are taking fewer patients for elective procedures as virus cases surge, in anticipation of greater demand. "We have the beds," he says. "We need the staff." Gov. Ron DeSantis is bringing in 2,000 more nurses from other states and is sending medical personnel to help Tampa-area hospitals. Another hospital CEO said Friday that "our ICU capacity is beyond 100%." On Monday, Leah Carpenter was no longer available for interviews. "While Leah is the CEO at Memorial Hospital West," a spokesman said, "she is also a nurse and currently taking shifts in the hospital during the surge." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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