FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – South Florida mayors are expressing growing concern over increasing COVID-19 cases and what it means for our local hospitals. But in virtual and telephone news conferences on Friday morning, both Miami-Dade Mayor Danielle Levine Cava and Broward Mayor Steve Geller both echoed the same message, keep following CDC guidelines through the holidays and hope is on the horizon.
Broward Mayor Geller was joined in his call by all the mayors of Broward County, county health department officials and officials from Memorial Regional Hospital to get a snapshot of what is going on in the county with the rising number of cases.
They said while the county is not experiencing the rate of double-digit number of infections like over the summer, the rate does continue to go up.
Mayor Geller admonished city leaders for not enforcing the county emergency order that requires masks in public and businesses to practice social distancing.
“You are not being nice when you are killing your residents,” he said.
In Broward, many businesses are striving to keep everyone safe but non-compliance is an issue.
The Sistrunk Market in Fort Lauderdale’s Arts District opened two months ago at the height of the pandemic.
They only allow about 30 percent capacity in the massive food hall that has 12 eateries.
Reservations are encouraged. Ordering is contactless, there’s a sanitizer on every table and hand-washing stations.
Manager Steven Dapuzzo says they have put people above profits.
“It’s definitively a challenge. There is a big price to pay. But it is the socially responsible thing to do,“ he says
While they follow the rules others have not.
Recently, the Wharf restaurant located near the New River in Fort Lauderdale came under heavy criticism after a picture surfaced showing people crammed together with no masks.
The Wharf is temporarily closed, but Mayor Geller says he has heard some city
leaders complain that even though they may enforce COVID restrictions, sometimes neighboring cities aren’t as diligent and it undermines their efforts.
Geller is urging everyone to wear a mask and refrain from upcoming holiday celebrations.
The two-week positivity rate in Broward currently stands at 7.10% and there are a total of 110,517 cases and 1,687 deaths. The median age of infection in Broward County is 39 years old.
However, officials from the Memorial Regional Hospital said it is one of two hospitals in South Florida that will receive the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The hospital will receive 20,000 doses. However, since the Pfizer vaccine needs two doses to be effective, they will be able to give the vaccine to 10,000 frontline health care workers within the Memorial System.
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There was also a lot of discussion about enforcing mask and social distancing rules. Those rules have never been lifted in Broward but since Governor Ron DeSantis is not enforcing fines, it’s tough to cite businesses for not meeting regulations.
Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava also addressed the coronavirus pandemic and the impact its having on hospitals. She was joined on her virtual news conference by a cross section of health experts and elected officials to share their concerns. Levine Cava says we must take the rising cases extremely seriously.
“We’re gravely concerned about overwhelming our healthcare system capacity to care for COVID patients. Our hospital network in South Florida is one of the finest in the country and has done extremely well at dealing with this pandemic. But if we push our system to the limit, when COVID cases spread too quickly, we will be at a breaking point,” said Cava.
She said it is essential we take steps “in our own lives, to protect our families and to protect our health care workers and first responders, those who are on the frontlines every single day fighting this virus for us. It’s not just for ourselves, it’s not just for our families that we need to stay safe, it’s for the families of the thousands of health care workers, firefighters and police, who are not just a taking care of their own lives, but of all of our lives, protecting us and keeping our loved ones safe.”
WATCH: Mayor Daniella Levine Cava Message To Community
Mayor Levine Cava said while it’s critical to get control of the disease, we must also not lose hope.
“Hope is on the horizon. A vaccine is coming within the next couple of weeks and Jackson Memorial will be at the front lines with the distribution to our health care workers. And to get to the other side of this pandemic, we cannot let our guard down. Now, we need to stand strong as a community committed to following public health protocols so that we can keep moving forward in the New Year.”
Miami-Dade County currently has a two-week positivity rate of 8.44%, a total of 236,308 cases and 3,868 deaths.
“I know that it isn’t easy. We all have COVID fatigue. But it is why we need to share one united message, uplift and celebrate everyone who is doing what is needed to keep all of us safe. So next week, my administration will be rolling out a new messaging campaign for the holidays, aimed at amplifying the steps we can all take to contain the spread and celebrating the businesses and the community members that are going above and beyond to protect each of us.”
Mayor Levine Cava is still recovering from COVID-19 herself. She and her husband tested positive earlier this week. Her husband is a doctor and contracted it from a patient. She says she is experiencing some symptoms but she is not incapacitated.