MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Floridians appear to be digging themselves deeper into the COVID-19 crisis, with the state reporting more than 13,000 new cases Thursday.
As cases climb in South Florida and more vaccine arrives statewide, local leaders said they’re still being left in the dark by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The office of Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber confirmed he hasn’t heard from the governor, even after several letters sent to his office.
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez also gave an update.
“Trying to get ahold of the governor. I haven’t been able to get through to him, both directly and indirectly. My message to him would be what it’s always been, ‘We need to have as much local control as possible,’” he said. “I can show him graphically, when we had a mask in public rule that we were dining people for not wearing, we had a 90% decrease.”
So far, Gov. DeSantis has prevented mayors from telling people to pay up for not wearing a mask in public.
South Florida leaders are alarmed by the number of sick people.
But the push to protect people continues.
The state’s next goal, after frontline workers and long-term care staff and residents, is to focus on vaccinating seniors 65 and older all throughout Florida.
“If we can vaccinate those people, then by the spring, and moving into the summer, we can start to see some normalcy by the time summer rolls around,” said Broward Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joshua Lenchus.
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It’s a crucial time for frontline workers, who are getting busier. One doctor said it’s too risky for him to live normally in his own home.
“I’ve been sleeping upstairs in my house. The rest of my family has been downstairs. When I’m in the house, everyone else is also wearing a mask,” Dr. Sunil Kumar with Broward Health Medical Center said.
In Broward, on Thursday, there were 540 COVID-19 patients in hospitals. That’s an increase of more than 100 compared to last week on Friday.
In Miami-Dade, there are more than 1,000 patients, a significant jump from a week and two weeks ago.
Despite the grim statistics, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced that the county’s existing curfew is being changed for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
On those two holidays, the curfew will now start at 1 a.m. instead of 12 a.m. to give people a chance to celebrate safely.