The supply of available hospital beds in South Florida is getting tighter as a statewide surge in coronavirus is picking up.
In Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties — a region with a much higher rate of COVID-19 than the rest of the state — about 70% of intensive care unit beds, used for the sickest patients, were in use on Sunday.
General hospital beds also were about 70% occupied, according to numbers from the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
The numbers were in line with most other heavily populated counties in Florida, but they masked the tightening situation at a number of individual hospitals.
At Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, state numbers showed 15% of ICU beds were available Sunday along with 30% of general hospital beds — compared with 28% of ICU beds and 29% of general beds two weeks ago.
Occupancy was lower at the Broward Health system’s three other hospitals: Coral Springs, Imperial Point and North.
At Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines, the figures showed 5% of ICU beds were available, along with 16% of general hospital beds on Sunday. The percentage of open ICU beds stood at 10% on June 1 and 16% of general beds.
RELATED: Florida coronavirus surge continues with more than 2,000 new infections reported Sunday »
A Broward Health spokeswoman said agency staffers were reviewing the numbers Sunday afternoon but couldn’t immediately comment.
A Memorial Healthcare System representative said the agency wouldn’t be able to analyze and respond to the numbers before the beginning of the workweek.
At Memorial Regional Hospital, the figures showed 24% of ICU beds and 39% of general beds available Sunday.
In south Palm Beach County, two hospitals were in line with the countywide average, according to state data, but the percentage of available beds had mostly dropped since June 1.
Thirty-two percent of ICU beds at Boca Raton Regional Hospital were available Sunday, down from 49% on June 1. Twenty-three percent of general beds were available, down from 26% on June 1.
At Delray Medical Center, state figures showed 30% of ICU beds and 25% of general beds were available — compared with 42% and 27% on June 1.
Two other hospitals in the county were tighter. At Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, 7% of ICU beds were available Sunday, down from 18% on June 1. Twenty-seven percent of general beds were open, down from 34%.
At Wellington Regional Medical Center, only 4% of ICU beds were available Sunday, down dramatically from 29% on June 1. Twenty percent of general beds were open, up from 17%.
Hospital officials were unavailable Sunday to explain whether more beds are filled because of increasing COVD-19, the resumption of elective surgeries or emergencies.
Sunday marked the 12th day the state has reported more than 1,000 new cases and the second day of more than 2,000 new cases. It takes time for new coronavirus cases to show up in hospitalizations, so the future availability of general hospital beds or ICU beds is uncertain.
On a countywide basis, Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties stand roughly in line with other heavily populated counties in the state in terms of available beds.
Broward had 29% of its ICU beds and 33% of its general hospital beds available on Sunday, the best of any of the state’s large counties. Miami-Dade County had 27% of its ICU beds and 28% of its general admission beds, and Palm Beach County had 22% of its ICU beds and 31% of its general admission beds.
Hospitals in Duval, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties all had a similar percentage of beds available.
The numbers in South Florida were only slightly lower than two weeks ago. But Central Florida was an exception to the pattern statewide. There, 17% of Orange County’s ICU beds and 15% of its general admission beds were available Sunday.
The percentage of available ICU beds in Orange and Seminole counties have dropped from about 30% on June 1 to 17% on June 14, but local officials attribute some of it to increase in the number of surgeries as things return to normal coupled with more severe cases resulting from delays in care.
A separate report on Sunday, from the state Department of Health, showed 11,942 people have been treated in Florida hospitals for COVID-19 illness since the beginning of pandemic-related record-keeping, an increase of 68 since Saturday.
South Florida has had 6,629 hospitalizations, an increase of 22 over the previous 24 hours.
In Central Florida, which hasn’t been affected as badly by coronavirus as South Florida, more than 80% of general and ICU beds were in use Sunday at Orange and Seminole county hospitals.
The available beds don’t reflect only coronavirus. Health officials said that even though the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients are increasing, so are the elective surgeries and emergency procedures not related to COVID-19.
Even in Central Florida, where occupancy is higher than South Florida, officials said that they’re not yet concerned, although they’re watching the numbers closely. They said local hospitals continue to have enough capacity to handle any potential COVID-19 surge.