Mayor says accurate COVID numbers for Broward County not being released

Hospitals are now overrun with pediatric COVID-19 patients, while Broward County's mayor says hospitals aren't releasing numbers.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – scary new number just in from Broward County. Right now there are no pediatric intensive care unit beds available. But Broward Health and Memorial Healthcare System officials said they are converting areas if needed and no one will be turned away.

Broward County is now providing daily numbers on a dashboard each day, but the county’s mayor, Steve Geller, had harsh words Friday for hospitals who he said aren’t turning over critical information.

The state of Florida stopped releasing daily COVID numbers in June and Broward County said that is unacceptable, so they began releasing its own data this week.

The problem, according Geller is that not everyone is handing over the information.

[RELATED: State reports that COVID cases are up, vaccinations down]

“We need to know how many available beds we have. How many are in hospitals? We need to be doing our planning,” Geller said, adding that planning can’t be done accurately if numbers and information are being held back.

“I’m starting to get the feeling that some are hiding the information or not giving us the information. I’m the mayor of Broward County, I need accurate information,” Geller said.

Broward’s top administrator issued an emergency directive that requires hospitals to report daily statistics to the county every day. The information includes the number of ICU beds and ventilators, and the number of beds that can be converted to ICU beds, plus the number of patients with COVID-19 that are admitted to hospitals daily.

“I’m sensing resistance on the part of some of the hospitals and I’m starting to get very angry about it,” Geller said.

The mayor said he is not willing to name names .

“I have told at least one (hospital) that I want information by today. If I receive the information I want, all will be well with the world. If not, you will certainly hear about it,” he said.

According to Broward County’s COVID-19 hospital report dated Friday, Aug. 13, there were 85 acute care beds available, 20 adult intensive care unit beds, and zero pediatric intensive care beds in a county of 1.95 million people.

And the Florida Department of Health and Human Services said that Broward County is leading the nation with confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions in the last 7 days.

“If we can’t get accurate data, we don’t know what steps to take. The governor has aleady tied our hands on a lot of steps we can take, but we need this information and we have to get it and we’re going to get it one way or another.”

Spokespersons for Broward Health and the Memorial Healthcare System said they are releasing information to the county and that they are not the problem.

Right now in Broward County, 199 COVID-19 positive patients are on ventilator in hospitals. There are a surprlus of 748 ventilators available and hospitals are hoping they do not need to use them.

Also on Friday, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber sent a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stating that Florida’s policy of banning masks and vaccine passports is backfiring and he’s asked the governor to reconsider his position.

There has, so far, been no response from the governor.

Read the letter

Miami Beach

About the Authors:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.