The U.S. government has sent hundreds of ventilators to Florida as the surge in COVID-19 cases continues. Other pieces of equipment to help treat the record number of hospitalized Floridians have also been sent. An official of the Department of Health and Human Services told NBC News that the devices came from the Strategic National Stockpile of the federal government.
The devices that have been given by the federal government include:
- 200 ventilators
- 100 smaller breathing devices
- related supplies.
Local and state health officials had asked for equipment from the federal stockpile. When asked about the request on Tuesday by WPLG-TV, Miami, who was the first to report about the allotment of ventilators, Governor Ron DeSantis said that he didn’t know about the federal allocation.
DeSantis said that he had not heard about it, so he had to check whether the allocations was “true or not.” He said that he had honestly doubted that it was true, but he would look into the matter. He also said that they had a lot of stuff that they had stockpiles over the earlier year and a half through the Department of Emergency Management.
DeSantis, who has recently been facing some opposition from school districts as he had reportedly threatened to withdraw their payment if they enforced mask mandates, said that he had not seen any requests on his desk nor had he been notified about the matter. Some school districts have defied his diktats while others have toed in line.
DeSantis has been on a collision course with the Biden administration as well. He had also mentioned that low vaccination rates were not the cause of infections but alleged that Biden’s immigration policies led to the surge in infections.
University of Florida Shands CEO Ed Jiminez said on MSNBC that there was a rapid, accelerated rise (of COVID-19) that was unprecedented. He also said that 90 percent of the patients in his hospital were unvaccinated.
Florida has been strongly affected by the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus. On Tuesday, these were the current facts and figures according to the Florida Hospital Association:
- 14,787 people were hospitalized which was 145 percent higher than its peak in July 2020.
- Almost 90 percent of Florida’s ICU beds were occupied.
- Nearly 85 percent of all patients’ beds were in use.