A Florida hospital has been forced to close its maternity unit and tell expectant moms to give birth elsewhere after the state’s record-breaking COVID surge caused staff shortages.   

Holy Cross Health Hospital in Fort Lauderdale announced on Sunday afternoon that it is shutting down its Labor and Delivery delivery unit ‘until further notice’ due to ‘critical staffing levels.’ 

That means pregnant women who’d planned to give birth there and are almost at their due dates must now go through the stress of finding a new hospital. 

However, the hospital said in a statement that its neonatal intensive care and post-partum units will remain open. 

‘People are out sick due to the surge in Covid cases,’ Holy Cross spokesperson Christine Walker added in an interview with NBC Miami. She spoke after Florida recorded 85,000 COVID cases on Saturday and Sunday, and almost 50,000 new infections on Monday.

Holy Cross Health hospital (pictured) said in a statement released on Sunday that it is shutting down its Labor and Delivery delivery unit ‘until further notice’ due to staff shortages

The hospital did not mention a re-opening date for its Labor and Delivery Unit. Its emergency service division was also shut down on December 29 for similar reasons.

The Omicron variant is once again spreading throughout Southern Florida, where many first responders are affected by the crisis, much like throughout the U.S. 

Hospitalizations in Florida reached 5,425, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday. That’s up more than 210 people from Saturday.​ 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, addressed the area’s situation during an interview with CNN’s State of the Union. 

‘We already know that there are reports from fire departments, from police departments in different cities that there are 10, 20, 25 and sometimes 30 percent of the people are ill,’ he said. 

The hospital recently faced a staffing crisis before the New Year before Sunday’s announcement

Hospitalizations in Florida reached 5,425, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday. That’s up more than 210 people from Saturday.​ Pictured: A treatment room at the Holy Cross’ Health Labor and Delivery Unit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Omicron variant is the most dominant coronavirus variant in the U.S. as it eclipsed the Delta variant last month, just less than three weeks after the country’s first omicron infection was confirmed. 

As of December 17, more than 73 percent of new cases reported in the country are found to be related to the Omicron variant, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Florida is one of the states with the worst infection rates in the U.S. over the last week. As of Monday night, the Sunshine State has seen a 302,179 count increase over the last seven days. That represents 49,444 new cases on a seven-day moving average. 

Only two U.S. territories: the U.S. Virgin Islands, which saw a 2,142 percent increase, and Puerto Rico, with a 1,355 percent increase in the past two weeks, have higher infection rates than Florida over the last two weeks. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday reported more than 75,900 new COVID cases in Florida, marking a single-day record for the number of new cases in the Sunshine State.

And between December 24 and December 30, the state saw a total of 298,455 new COVID cases with more than a quarter of the state’s residents testing positive for the virus. But there were only 32 deaths reported in the state during that time. 

More hospitals throughout the state have simultaneously reported staffing shortages last week, according to the Department of Health & Human Services, and are among many services affected by the labor shortfall.     

Researchers found that Florida could see a nurse shortfall of near 60,000 by 2035. The report commissioned by the Florida Hospital Association and Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida projects by that time, the state will lack 37,400 registered nurses (RN) and 21,700 licensed practical nurses (LPN) needed to care for all of its residents.

Florida is one of the worst states in the US with the highest percentages of COVID infected residents, with 49,444 people testing positive on Monday

With all of that happening, Governor Ron DeSantis is demanding more treatment for the virus. On Monday, he publicly petitioned the Biden administration to let states buy more monoclonal antibody treatments amid a nationwide shortage.

‘Today, Governor Ron DeSantis called on the Biden Administration to release the stranglehold on life-saving monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 through its allocation system and increase the supply distributed to Florida or allow states to purchase the antibodies directly,’ his office released in a statement.

‘Prior to the federal government takeover of the monoclonal market, Florida successfully distributed approximately 30,000 doses per week when we managed our own supply,’ DeSantis added in a statement on Monday. ‘The state has more than $800 million available to quickly deploy monoclonal antibody treatments throughout the state, and the only thing holding us back is the insufficient supply of treatment from the federal government.’

‘After failing to ‘shut down the virus,’ the Biden Administration has come to the realization that there is not a federal solution to COVID-19, and releasing the federal stranglehold on these effective treatments is a good first step,’ he added.

The country recorded its highest seven-day average number of cases on January 2, with 413,304 people testing positive for the virus over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

At the same time, on a seven-day average, there were 1,350 new deaths. That number is far lower than the seven-day average recorded at the peak of winter in January 2021, where the US averaged around 3,300 deaths.  

The Omicron variant has spread rapidly throughout the United States since it was first detected last month

As of Monday, the United States saw 254,091 new cases and a weekly average of 254,091 new cases

Large states including California, Texas, Florida and New York have seen its infection rates worsens through the latest surge of the omicron variant of the coronavirus

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