By Ty Russell

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida hospital leaders say the most vulnerable, like seniors in nursing homes and our frontline workers are first in line to receive the vaccine for the coronavirus, but since it will be a while before any vaccine is widely available, they say we need to protect each other.

COVID-19 is continuing to spread in Florida, where US Senator Rick Scott announced he tested positive on Friday morning.

In a statement, he wrote, “I want to remind everyone to be careful and do the right things to protect yourselves and others. Wear a mask. Social distance.”

He went on to say, “Listen to public health officials and follow their guidance. We will beat this together.”

“We’re expecting another potential surge, we have more than enough beds available,” said Tony Gomez, CEO of Jackson North Medical Center.

Gomez and other hospital leaders partnered with the North Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce during a COVID-19 meeting.

“So what the models show here locally is some peaking around the December timeframe, middle to late December, now please keep in mind those models and curves do change,” said Peter Powers of Memorial Regional Hospital.

Powers says numbers are expected to keep climbing for several weeks.

In Broward County, the 2-week average infection rate of new cases is 7.6-percent.

It’s higher in Miami-Dade at 8.3-percent. Both are too high for health experts, but there is hope for those who are really sick with the virus.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a monoclonal antibody cocktail for emergency use.

“So, yes we do have it. There are restrictions on who can get it. It’s going to be for those who meet certain categories. Such as high-risk obesity, chronic diseases, and age. We do believe it’s effective and we will be offering it,” said Powers.

The latest numbers show more than 850 patients are battling the virus in Miami-Dade and Broward hospitals.

They say there is more room to help but they are hopeful they won’t need to use every bed.

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Health experts are still recommending families avoid any travel and to use video conferencing for loved ones who do not live with you during Thanksgiving.

“We’re gonna start offering that first to our frontline workers right we want to make sure in case there is a surge that we have all hands on deck and healthy so we can continue to provide the amazing care that we’ve been doing since this pandemic has taken place,” said Gomez.

When it comes to Memorial and a vaccine, the health system says details are still scarce, but it plans to try to give it out to as many frontline workers, those in the ICU and those in the emergency room.

Ty Russell

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