By Ty Russell

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hospital numbers continue to climb in Miami-Dade, and that has the county mayor ringing the alarm bells.

“We are not able to expand as we were in the summer. We don’t have access to extra health care workers. We can’t open field hospitals,” said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Levine Cava, who describes the situation as “grave,” plans to hold a news conference within the next few days to talk about hospitals and capacity.

In the county, the latest numbers showed 815 people battling COVID-19 in hospitals, with 30% of regular and ICU beds still available.

In neighboring Broward, 435 patients have COVID-19, with 18% of regular beds still available and 24% of ICU beds are still empty.

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Levine Cava, who has been in quarantine after recently testing positive for the virus, said current frontline workers have been doing so well that other companies now want them.

“In fact, we are losing employees in our hospitals today as they are lured for higher paid short-term opportunities,” she said.

To help hospitals avoid overcrowding and keep health care workers less stressed, the mayor said it’s time to get tough again.

“Make sure that we don’t violate curfew. That is very important. We are working with all the cities to help us enforce and to enforce masking. So, while we can’t impose fines right now, we can offer civil citations for people not masking,” she said.

Jackson Health and Memorial Regional are expected to get Pfizer’s vaccine shortly after the FDA’s likely approval.

“We finally have some sense of real possibilities of ending this horrendous pandemic,” she said.

The mayor said frontline workers will be up for the first two injections along with people in long-term care facilities.

CBS4’s Ty Russell also asked about everyone else in Miami-Dade after learning Broward’s Holiday Park will serve as a mass vaccine distribution site.

“After that will come the public distribution. So, we don’t have the details in those phases yet. But we are expecting March, perhaps, to be the public rollout,” Levine Cava said.

Ty Russell