By Ty Russell

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade made history on Tuesday when Daniella Levine Cava is sworn in as mayor.

She’s the first female to hold the job in the county.

The afternoon ceremony was held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and was not open to the public.

Levine Cava beat Commissioner Esteban Bovo for the job, garnering 54% of the vote. She replaces Carlos Gimenez who has been elected to Congress.

Moments after swearing-in, Levine Cava reminded the crowd why it’s tough for many families to celebrate.

“Nearly 4,000 Miami-Dade homes are missing a loved one tonight due to COVID-19,” she said.

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With the rising number of new COVID cases in the county, Levine Cava has appointed Dr. Peter Paige, who is the chief physician and Executive Vice President of Jackson Health System, as chief medical officer. He’ll help the county navigate a new normal through testing, tracing and guidelines.

“With this appointment, we will have a clear and open line of communication between our county and our healthcare system. Sharing information, pulling resources, and mobilizing a unified strategy,” Levine Cava said.

The current 2-week average positivity rate for new cases in Miami-Dade is 7.88%. Well above the recommended 5. So, her first act is announcing a new chief medical officer.

Levine Cava said the Response and Recovery Task Force will draft a roadmap to battle the public health and economic problem.

“The task force will be announced in the coming days. It will represent a cross section of our county so we can have one response that is guided by mutual respect and cooperation,” she said.

She also plans to help struggling business because of the pandemic.

“We need to provide relief to our small business owners, hospitality sector and so many others to get our residents back to work and to get our economy back on its feet,” she said Tuesday. “As mayor, I will create programs to empower small and Black-owned businesses and reprioritize neighborhood investments so no community is left behind.”

Mayor Levine Cava admits COVID-19 has greatly impacted Black and Latino communities.

We are still working to learn how often this task force will meet and whether she plans to pressure Gov. DeSantis for more control over countywide restrictions.

Levine Cava doesn’t have an issue with current restrictions and emergency orders. However, she plans to review the orders and draft new ones along with the curfew.

“We will be balancing the health care issues with the economic ones. We know we need to continue our economy for so many reasons,” she said.

Ty Russell

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