South Florida has passed the peak of the omicron surge

South Florida Omicron Testing Site — Courtesy: Shutterstock — YES Market Media

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — According to experts, the height of the COVID-19 omicron variant surge may be behind us in South Florida. 

“In Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, hospitals have already experienced their peak,” Mary Mayhew, president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, said Wednesday. “Because of the population in the area, not surprisingly, southeast Florida was seeing higher percentages of hospitalizations. They are now also seeing the greatest decline.”

The omicron variant wave hit South Florida fast, increasing the number of people infected. 

Last week the Sunshine State set a record with 430,297 new COVID-19 cases reported, which equals more than 61,000 per day. But Florida has reported fewer than 50,000 new infections to the CDC for the past couple of days, the lastest being 43,179 from Tuesday.

A single-day record of 77,075 new cases was reported statewide on Jan. 8. 

COVID hospitalizations across Florida sat around 11,500 on Wednesday, and Mayhew said discharges are happening faster with omicron compared to the delta variant surge this past summer when hospitalizations reached a whopping 17,000.

“Our hospitals are seeing either a flattening or a decrease in hospitalizations for COVID. That is tremendous news,” she said. “We are not seeing the level of acuity in terms of the need for ICU beds, and certainly the length of stay is less, so that is leading to individuals being in and out of the hospital much more quickly.”

Memorial Healthcare System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marc Napp said that numbers are on a downward trend.

“We are no longer seeing huge numbers of people coming in with COVID symptoms,” he said. “At our peak in the last wave, delta, which was our highest peak, we had 740 patients. We got up to 690, close to 700 this time, and we are now back down to the mid 600s.”

Jackson North Medical Center’s CMO Dr. O’Neil Pyke said their numbers are leveling. 

“One positive thing is that the hospitalizations have not gone up as high as we thought or feared it too,” he said Tuesday.

“Many of the healthcare workers who were out sick with COVID during this wave are now back,” said Mayhew.

“Fewer staff are out sick, so the trends are all heading in the right direction,” she continued.

“Southeast Florida is definitely seeing some very encouraging trends and a decline in the positivity rates, in the numbers of individuals coming to the emergency department, and certainly the number of hospitalizations,” Mayhew added.

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