By Ty Russell

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade has close to 530 people in the ICU – the highest it has been. It’s why federal, state and local leaders are encouraging the use of masks, especially for those who live with a vulnerable person.

“The rate of increase is starting to slow. We’ve actually seen some decreasing. We’ve seen the rate of contagion also stop. It was in the 20s. Now it’s starting to get in the teens,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

Gimenez said social distancing and masks are working. The county now has a two-week average positivity rate at 19.5%. However, that’s still above the goal of 10%.

County hospital numbers are also down slightly from Tuesday’s record high.

“So we’ve got a simple tool that will help us reopen and it even says in the package ‘Do your part. Stop the spread,’” said U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

Adams joined the Gimenez and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez at a Sergio’s Restaurant.

The feds are donating a million washable masks to Florida’s hospitality workers.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who is on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is sounding the alarm in private about Miami’s numbers in audio obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

“There are cities that are lagging behind and we have new increases in Miami,” she said.

Dr. Deborah Birx also named 10 other cities outside Florida.

But City Mayor Francis Suarez said he’s seeing a difference.

“The situation has improved. Just a few days ago, we were at 60 new cases a day. Obviously our peak was 125. We are doing to 20 new cases a day,” Suarez said.

The mayor said to help the number keep falling, the city has increased its fines to match the county if someone isn’t wearing a mask.

He’s pushing for the money collected to go back to those who need it.

“We are hoping to dedicate some of the money we get from there fines to small businesses that are really hurting in our community,” he said.

Doctors in Hialeah are frustrated and want people to do their part to slow the spread.

The city has the second most cases in Miami-Dade. Those cases are impacting soon-to-be-moms.

“Hialeah hospital is full of COVID patients. So is Kendall Hospital and Palmetto General,” said Dr. Alberto Dominguez Bali. “In three weeks, I have seen 20 pregnant women with COVID.”

Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez has been at odds with the county mayor. Hernandez wants to see more relief funds go its way to help those in need.

“Anytime a person wants power it’s a dictatorship,” said Hernandez.

Mayor Gimenez said it is not up to him.

“This will be a process.  It’s up to the county commission to allocate those funds,” said Gimenez.

As for exhausted doctors in overcrowded hospitals, they want residents to not only wearing a mask but also keeping their distance.

“The social distance protects us in more than 90% of the cases,” said Dr. Bali.

Ty Russell

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