MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One day after his office denied there were any confirmed cases of the Zika virus that were contracted on Miami Beach, Governor Rick Scott held a press conference Friday to announce that five cases have been confirmed in the city.
Friday morning Scott received an update from county and health officials. He was then scheduled to tour Wynwood.
Scott said of the five new cases, two people live in South Florida, one lives in New York, one lives in Texas and the final person lives in Taiwan. There were three men and two women. All were visiting Miami Beach.
“The Florida Department of Health believes that all active transmissions of this virus are only occurring in the areas of Miami Beach between 8th and 28th Streets. This area is just under 1.5 miles,” said Scott. “To date, we have two very small areas of Miami-Dade County where we believe local transmissions are occurring.”
The total number of local transmissions of Zika in Florida is now 36.
In order to connect the tourism industry with resources to combat the spread of the Zika virus, Scott has directed the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the health department to work with hotels, restaurants, and attractions in Miami-Dade County on Zika prevention and education.
“As we continue to aggressively assess and test people for Zika, we will make every resource available to fight this virus,” said Scott. While we still believe local transmissions are only occurring in an area that is less than one square mile in Wynwood, our state is committed to remaining vigilant in our Zika prevention, education and response efforts.”
Based on this new information, CDC and Florida health officials are now recommending the following:
- Pregnant women should avoid travel to the designated area of Miami Beach, in addition to the designated area of Wynwood, both located in Miami-Dade County, because active local transmission of Zika has been confirmed.
- Pregnant women and their partners living in or who must travel to the designated areas should be aware of active Zika virus transmission and follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
- Women and men who live in or who have traveled to the designated area of Miami Beach since July 14, 2016 should be aware of active Zika virus transmission; pregnant women should see their doctor or other healthcare provider about getting tested for Zika; and people who have a pregnant sex partner should consistently and correctly use condoms to prevent infection during sex or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
- Pregnant women and their sexual partners who are concerned about potential Zika virus exposure may also consider postponing non-essential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County.
The governor said there was some good news. Three additional blocks in the northwest sector Wynwood had been cleared of Zika, bringing the total to 17 blocks that are now clear.
Scott said with the new cases, he has requested 5,000 test kits from the Centers for Disease Control. He’s also asked for additional lab support and 10,000 Zika prevention kits.
“This will ensure we can quickly test people for the virus,” said Scott.
The governor said they are still waiting on a response from the Obama administration as to how they should work with FEMA to address this situation.
“We still haven’t received it and I have repeatedly called on the president for this,” said Scott.
The health department says they continue to investigate possible transmission areas in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
As for the tourism industry that may be affected by the new news, Scott said “tourism is a driving force of our economy and this industry has the full support of our state in the fight against the Zika virus.”