MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While Miami-Dade’s coronavirus positivity rate has gone down a bit over the last few days, it’s still above where it needs to be. One doctor believes the community has a long way to go to get its act together.
“We still have a lot of COVID-19 in the community,” said Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, the chair of the Epidemiology Department at Florida International University.
She talked to CBS4’s Ty Russell on Monday about the latest numbers. The professor said there’s more work to do and she wants to make sure people are getting tested.
“Number of tests will be low because the testing sites were closed,” the professor said.
State leaders have recorded fewer COVID-19 tests recently. Many testing sites were closed because of the threat from Isaias. The state said it’s still working to reopen all of its sites.
However, the during the closures, people could’ve still gone to county health departments for tests.
The FIU professor said the number of people taking tests may be lower over the next several days. That means understanding data will be tough.
“It’s going to hard to interpret what’s going on for at least another week or so because testing sites were closed,” she said.
During a news conference at Broward Health’s corporate office in Fort Lauderdale, Gov. DeSantis announced that two state-run testing sites, Marlins Park in Miami and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, will add a lane for antigen testing.
Russell asked Trepka about the validity of the tests.
“Very, very positive and will help to alleviate the situation,” the professor said.
That said, she recommends those who get negative results to test again using the most common way that depends on a lab for results.
“You need to get the other test,” she said.
It’s unclear if testing sites will direct seniors to follow-up, if the results are negative.
What we do know is the two-week average percent positive rate is 17%.
“The percent is still very, very high,” the doctor told Russell over Zoom.
Even with fewer than average typical amount of COVID-tests Saturday and Sunday, the percent positive still remained above 10% on both days. Leaders want it below that. The World Health Organization and doctors want to see it at 5% or below to consider easing restrictions.
Right now, doctors and nurses are still trying to make room for those who are sick.
“Hospitals are little better off than they were a week or so ago,” the doctor said.
Data from Miami-Dade shows numbers are hovering just under 2,000 patients in the hospital a day since Friday.
On Monday, there were still more than 500 people in the ICU countywide and more than 300 of them were on ventilators.
“There’s a lot of critically ill people still,” she said.
The request coming from the doctor is to make sure you are doing your part to slow the spread.
“There’s a lot of risk out there. People need to wear masks at all times when they are in contact with anybody outside their own home,” she said.
Trepka said it’s likely we will still see a higher rate of people losing their battle to COVID over the next several weeks.