MIAMI (CBSMiami) – By dawn’s early light, a small plane loaded with larvicide sprayed an area north of downtown Miami in the county’s fight to eradicate mosquitoes who could transmit the Zika virus.READ MORE: BSO Searching For Tamarac Burglar Claiming To Be Deputy
While many are happy to see the area being treated, they’re not thrilled it’s happening during business hours. Spraying began Wednesday, August 8th, at about 9 a.m.
“It’s just causing a lot of franticness and concern,” said Ricardo Perez-Pernas of Del Toro Shoes. “Kind of like me, I have to look after my employees. I don’t need my employees to be rushing from their cars to the building so they don’t get this sprayed on top of themselves.”
Just as a plane was flying overhead, CBS4’s Ted Scouten saw a pregnant woman posing for a photo shoot. She’s here from Russia.
Just two weeks from delivery, she chose not to follow Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines and stay out of the area.
“Pregnant women are advised not be in this part of Miami,” Scouten told her.
“Yes, yes, I’m trying not to walk a lot after the rain, especially,” she replied. “But I didn’t find any mosquito yet.”
Wednesday afternoon, state health officials confirmed that there was a new case of locally acquired Zika, bringing the tally up to 22 cases.
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) believes all the cases are linked to the Wynwood area of Miami.
In neighboring Little Haiti, Congresswoman Fredrica Wilson went door to door at local businesses, handing out information packets and repellent wipes.READ MORE: Special City Of Miami Commission Meeting Held To Discuss Future Of Chief Art Acevedo
She’s trying to get word out that Zika does not know the difference between Little Haiti and Wynwood, so everyone has to protect themselves and their families. She’s also concerned about Zika in Haiti since there’s so much travel between here and there.
“Because there’s travel every day,” said Congresswoman Wilson. “We go to Haiti every day, people from Haiti come here every day. And so we want to make sure people who come here understand and people who leave here understand that this is a crisis.”
And there’s another message here – one directed at the U.S. Congress who went on summer vacation without passing funding to fight Zika. The Democratic house whip is here – and he’s furious.
“It is unconscionable and frankly immoral to have left for seven weeks of break without passing the president’s request, which he made in February of this year,” said Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer.
Meanwhile, the county and state health department are pulling out all the stops to combat the insect known as “the cockroach of mosquitoes.”
“The fact that we have reduced the mosquitoes by 96 percent, and if we continue to have caution and have preventive measures, then it will be safe,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
A senior official from the CDC made the following statement: In Miami-Dade County you are more likely to be killed in a car wreck than get Zika.
The convention and visitors Bureau is desperately trying to get the message out that Miami is open for business. They know that millions and possibly billions of dollars are at stake. Tourism officials have promised to directly help the merchants of Wynwood who have seen revenues plummet and locals and tourist shy away.
There was some encouraging business news in the neighborhood on Wednesday.
Wynwood Yard reopened after closing for a week. An employee there was diagnosed with Zika and several were sick.
Owner Della Heiman said after educating themselves, and their employees, they’re open for business with plenty of repellent on hand and a new mosquito protection system.
“Basically it’s a series of pipes and nozzles that surround the space and it mists up to four times a day,” Heiman explained. “We can also set it to mist if we have a big crowd there.”MORE NEWS: Sheriff: Person Of Interest In 19-Year-Old Miya Marcano's Disappearance Found Dead