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Florida Emerges As Epicenter Of COVID Outbreak: 'Numbers Are Unbelievably Frightening'

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Florida is becoming the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and just this week, cases jumped 50 percent, with more than 110,000 new cases reported.

Case numbers are now back to where they were in January before the vaccine became available.

"There is no higher risk area in the United States than we're seeing here," said Dr. Aileen Marty, FIU infectious disease expert.

"The numbers that we're seeing are unbelievable, just unbelievably frightening."

According to the Florida Health Department, the new positivity rate for all of Florida is at 18.1%. In Broward, it's 14%, Miami-Dade is at 12.1%, and Monroe County is at 16.2%.

And according to the Florida Hospital Association, COVID-19 hospitalizations are nearing last year's peak.

Florida now has more people hospitalized than any other state.

Dr. Yvonne Johnson, Chief Medical Officer at Baptist South Miami Hospital, said the number of patients in her COVID ward has quadrupled in the past 3 weeks.

"Eighty to eighty-five percent of those people who are hospitalized are unvaccinated. And 100 percent of the people in my IUC are unvaccinated. All those people are suffering unnecessarily."

Other hospitals like Memorial Health Care System say they are overwhelmed

"This morning, we had over 420 patients with COVID. And 55 are in the ICU."

"In the ICU, 55 people are fighting for their lives and only one of them is vaccinated."

"Most of the patients are in their 30s and 40s and it is very sad to have someone die in the ICU by themselves without a touch of someone's face of seeing loved ones," said Juana Mejia, a COVID ICU nurse manager.

According to the Florida Health Department, 61% of the population is vaccinated.

While some still choose not to get their vaccine Friday at Tropical Parkm people said the Delta variant has alarmed them.

"I'm getting it for the first time because of the new variant."

This woman brought her 85-year-old grandma.

"We were just scared, but now it's so contagious. So, we needed to do it."

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