MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade is sending out special surge outreach teams to educate residents and hand out supplies in the areas hit hardest by the coronavirus.

They are Surge Urban Response to Guideline Education (SURGE) Outreach teams whose goal is to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus.

CBS4’S Peter D’Oench followed some of the surge teams as they went from apartment buildings to homes in Allapattah in Miami. A county spokesman says the initiative from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez focuses on “hot spots” in Miami-Dade: those areas showing the highest positivity results for COVID-19 testing.

He said they include areas like Allapattah, Liberty City and South Miami-Dade near Homestead. A county news release said Brownsville, Little Havana and Cutler Bay were other “hot spots.” The spokesman said there were between 25 and 30 volunteers and county employees in the surge teams on Tuesday but he thought there would be at least 60 people in the surge teams by Wednesday. He said they would be going door-to-door indefinitely as long as there are “hot spots.”

The surge teams are comprised of county employees and Goodwill Ambassadors from the Office of Community Advocacy as well as faith and community-based organizations including the Dream Defenders, The Circle Of Brotherhood, the Coalition of Florida Farmworkers Organization and Chamber South.

Allapattah resident Tomas Trujillo said he was very grateful for what the surge teams are doing and is worried about the coronavirus.

“I am scared,” he said. “I am really scared. I am so happy for that they are doing. I am grateful, yes. This is good.”

Morris Copeland, the Director of the Miami-Dade Juvenile Services Department, was leading the surge teams and he said “We have been charged by the Mayor to go out in to these areas where there are hot spots for positive COVID-19 tests.”

“What we are doing is providing information on COVID-19 test sites and we are providing cloth masks and gloves and informational flyers that are printed in 3 different languages and they tell you what to do and to wash your hands and keep your distance. Those cloth masks are re-unable after you wash them every day.”

He said “We are going door to doo which we feel is the way to do it because it’s a better way to connect with people and they have been very grateful. IT IS SO important because this is a matter of life or death. This part of the community is for the elderly and as we know based on the date that the elderly and people of color are at greatest risk of dying from COVID-19 so this is the proper place to put information out and let people know that this is preventable and there is hope and there are steps that people can take.”

Copeland said, “We want people to be cautious and wear masks and stay indoors when you can and when you can not remember to keep 6 feet distance and practice social distancing. If you feel ill, isolate yourself and quarantine yourself and make sure you communicate with folks who care about you and you know to protect yourself and protect others around you.”

Copeland said he felt is was important to be a part of this life-saving mission in the “hot spots” of Miami-Dade.

“Everyone says gracias and thank you,” he said. “It brings a smile to our faces. They understand what you are trying to do. Knowledge is power and the more information you have the better you are.”

Peter D'Oench

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