MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There’s no doubt coronavirus is spreading in Miami-Dade.
“That’s not a good trend. That’s a clear indicator of what’s going on with our numbers is not just because of testing. It’s truly an increase in the percent of people who are becoming infected,” Dr. Aileen Marty with Florida International University said Tuesday.
County Mayor Carlos Gimenez tweeted, “Today’s New Normal Dashboard shows a worrisome spike in positive COVID-19 cases. For this reason, our police is enforcing New Normal rules such as masks in public places and social distancing with zero tolerance. Call 305-4-Police to report violations.”
Dr. Dushyantha Jayaweera, an infectious disease physician with the University of Miami, said this surge may be earlier than expected but it is not surprising.
“We were expecting a spike in the fall, in September, when the winter starts coming in,” he said. “We has a quite good indication that there are going to be some blips up and down up and down over the next six months.”
Mayor Gimenez tweeted out a link to a report with graphs showing COVID-19 numbers. One is the percent of positive cases tested that day. The latest shows 25% of the cases tested in one day came back positive. The previous day, 17% of cases tested positive.
“You can’t just say this is a testing bias. There is a general increase in the numbers. It’s not just testing,” Jayaweera said.
The graph also shows the average over the last two weeks, which is 12%. The county’s goal is 10%.
“Wherever there is overcrowding, wherever there is more population density and when people don’t follow the rules, this happens,” Jayaweera said.
At start of the month, the average rate was about 5% of tests coming back positive. Researchers not only seeing a bigger percentage but younger age group too.
“We’ve seen young people get sick. In Miami-Dade, a significant portion of our COVID positive cases have been in children, 18 years and younger. Making up as much as 7% of our positive COVID cases,” Dr. Marty said.
The data may show recent numbers, but Jayaweera said it’s a reflection of about two weeks ago.
If we want cases to fall, he said behavior has to change today. The numbers will then show that impact two weeks from now.
“If we only think that this is not going to happen to me, it’ll happen to somebody else, it always happens to us,” he said.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is also getting more calls, showing that more people may be calling for help rather than trying to fight the illness in silence.
“We feel comfortable that we have a better understanding of the disease and better at treating and that’s one of the reasons more people are going to the hospital,” Jayaweera said.
Hospital admissions are also up in Miami-Dade. On Tuesday, Homestead Hospital announced it had reached capacity.
However, leaders have not waved the red flag. The county believes there are still enough available beds and ICU beds for those in need.
Chopper4 was overhead Hard Rock Stadium’s testing site Tuesday. The line was so long officials ended up turning away drivers who tried to wait after a cut-off point. It’s a sign of increased testing but it may also show how more people are feeling sick.