Florida has set another COVID-19 pandemic record, hours after reaching its highest total for new daily cases.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports Florida currently has 10,207 confirmed hospitalizations in relation to COVID-19 cases, which surpassed a previous record of 10,170 hospitalizations on July 23, 2020, ABC News reports.
The Florida Hospital Association confirmed the previous record, which occurred more than a half-year before vaccinations became available to the public.
Florida now leads all U.S. states in per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19, which includes hospitals across the Sunshine State opting to put emergency room visitors in beds in hallways, as well as others reporting a significant drop in the age of patients.
Florida has averaged 1,525 adult hospitalizations and 35 pediatric hospitalizations daily during the past week, ABC News reports.
University of South Florida associate professor of epidemiology Jason Salemi confirmed both totals are the highest per capita rate of all U.S. states.
The spike in hospitalizations and cases comes amid the spread of the delta variant throughout the state and a return to pre-pandemic activities.
“The recent rise is both striking and not-at-all surprising,” Salemi said in an email to ABC News on Saturday (July 31).
Federal health data showed Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, which was its highest one-day total since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has resisted both mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements and, along with state Legislature, has limited local officials' abilities to enact restrictions aiming to combat the spread of COVID-19, which includes barring school districts from requiring students to wear facial coverings during a return to in-person classes next month.
The data comes amid the spread of the Delta variant, which is reported to be "highly contagious, likely to be more serve" than previous known strains of the coronavirus and that “breakthrough infections may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases,” according to the CDC.