MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is defending the steps he is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
That includes closing movie theaters, putting restrictions on gyms and fitness studios, and re-imposing limitations on restaurants to name a few of the rollbacks outlined in his Executive Order which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
The county is reporting 2,916 new positive COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with a 14-day average positivity rate of 22.7% according to the Miami-Dade New Normal Dashboard.
The high positivity rate has Gimenez concerned.
“Yesterday we ran at 27% and two weeks ago, we were running around 8% as the rolling average. We’re now well over 20% and that’s concerning me. We have to put more measures in in order to stop the spread, more emphasis on wearing the masks outdoors as well as indoors,” said Gimenez during an interview Wednesday on CNN.
When asked why he backed off a complete closure of gyms and fitness studios, he said gyms “aren’t the problem.” He believes it’s the restaurants.
“The restaurants, the problem was young people and young people who started to party. Young people that started to go over to their friends homes for sleepovers, young people who were demonstrating for a couple of weeks here in Miami-Dade. We saw a huge spike in the percentage of young people that were coming up positive and then they spread it, you know, throughout the rest of the community and I think that’s what’s happening and it continues to happen.”
Gimenez added if he does see a rise in cases resulting from gyms, he will “reverse course and take further action. He added everyone should wear their masks in the gym because “experts say masks work and the number one contagion is actually the breath coming out. The mask is there to stop the breath from coming out and stop the ability of the germ to spread, so you know, we will see but I don’t think gyms were the problem here.”
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade’s ICU bed capacity has reached 82.3% as of Wednesday. There are 358 COVID-19 ICU admissions and an ICU bed capacity of 435, according to the Dashboard.
Despite those numbers, Gimenez doesn’t believe President Donald Trump’s visit to US Southern Command in Doral on Friday will be a tax on our medical system.
“The President is welcome anytime he wants to come to Miami-Dade County. He won’t overtax the medical system here. We have the capacity and we have the capacity to add more capacity,” said Gimenez. “When you look at the Dashboard, even though we have 400 something ICU beds and we have 300 being used, we have the capacity to add another 500.”
Does the Mayor feel confident about reopening schools in the Fall?
“If things are the same as they are today, No. But again, the Superintendent said that they were going to follow Miami-Dade County and what was happening down here. If we don’t advance through the more open phase than he wouldn’t be opening the schools. I need to speak to the Superintendent to make sure we’re on the same page. Then we’ll see what happens in August and in what way they’re supposed to open.”
The Mayor stressed, more than anything, people need to follow and enforce the rules that are in place so they can be effective in slowing the spread of the virus.