DOH: Locally Acquired Zika Case In Palm Beach County

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida health officials said a new case of locally acquired Zika has emerged – this time in Palm Beach County.

The Florida Department of Health is investigating the new case – bringing the total of locally acquired cases in South Florida to 17.

They said the person from Palm Beach County had recently traveled to Miami-Dade County.

Florida health officials believe all active transmissions have only taken place in the one square mile hot zone in the Wynwood area of Miami.

Zika 101: Prevent Spread By Protecting Yourself

Meantime, the artsy Wynwood district was a virtual ghost town over the weekend due to Zika fears.

One shop owner told CBS4 that on Saturday she only had one sale – and it didn’t happen until about 5 p.m.

Yesenia Candelario at Marine Layer said they too have been slow.

“There’s a bunch of restaurants here and now we have new shops. So we have a lot of people come in for brunch and tourists who wanna see the murals and shop around,” she explained. “But it’s not like that due to the Zika virus.”

Tom Curitore, the executive director of the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID), called an emergency board meeting and more than 50 business and property owners filled the room to discuss the situation. Representatives from Miami’s Office of Emergency Management, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, the health department and the Small Business Administration were also on hand.

“We’ve been hearing a lot from business owners that business is down in the area and Wynwood is open for business,” said Curitore.

During the meeting, Curitore said they took some definitive action.

“We going to put a resolution forward to ask for funding, for more tourism dollars and marketing dollars, to bring the area back to the way it was,” said Curitore.

Candelario and others who work in the area say they are trying to remain positive.

“It’s not common, obviously. No one would expect the Zika virus to come here,” Candelario said. “But pretty much it will blow over. Little by little it’s just gonna get better.”

Some business owners said they’ve had 30 percent drop in revenue earlier in the week.

“One or two bad days out of the week could pretty much set them back the whole month believe it or not,” Gus Manessis said.

Zak the Baker is a staple in the arts district. Its owner, Zak Stern, says when people associate Wynwood with something scary, it’s hard to convince them that the risk is small.

Most locally acquired cases are believed to have originated with mosquito bites in the Wynwood area. So far, no mosquito captured in the hot zone and tested has come back positive for the Zika virus.

Monday morning, 15 teams of two-person crews did home inspections in the area between N Miami Ave. and NW 3rd St. Mosquito control workers were looking for standing water which may have larvae. Pellets of chemicals were dropped in man holes on the streets. Overall, there was a noticeable effort to keep the streets clean and clear of anything that could become a mosquito breeding ground.

Some tourists visiting the area said they were unaware of what was going on until they were told. Some places are offering their customers mosquito repellent swabs and spray. Others are burning citronella candles around outdoor gathering spots.

“I asked them if there is any truth to the Zika issue and they said it was under control. Things are fine. I took their word and I came out here,” said visitor Issac Thomas.

Click here for more information on the Zika virus or here for more Zika-related stories.

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