By Joan Murray

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two to three weeks after the latest holiday period, South Florida is feeling a COVID spike.

The infection rates are climbing and hospitalizations are increasing.

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“We are seeing a slow steady increase in the number of cases in the hospital and
it’s undoubtedly because of the holidays,” said Broward Health chief medical officer
Dr. Joshua Lenchus.

There are still long lines at COVID testing sites although some have closed and others are being converted to vaccine distribution locations.

At Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale, there was a long line Friday for the PCR test, which takes a couple of days to get results. The wait was about two hours at noon.

Drucilla Young said she was there to get her father tested.
“He’s 84 and we want to make sure he’s good,” she said.

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Gary said he was there because he suspected someone in his work setting may have been
exposed.

“I think people aren’t doing enough. Not wearing masks and gathering in groups,” said his friend Richard Brownscombe.

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Miami-Dade is far from turning the COVID corner.

“We still have the fourth highest COVID rate of all the counties and number seven in terms of death says FIU infectious disease specialist Dr. Aileen Marty.

Dr. Marty says treatments have improved so people are leaving the hospital sooner.
Currently, there are more than 1,100 people being treated in Miami Dade hospitals and they occupy 241 ICU beds.

Dr. Marty concedes the vaccine rollout hasn’t been ideal and it will
take time.

“It’s estimated we need 90 percent of the population inoculated to see
a result and we’ve only done one percent of the population at this time,” said Dr. Marty.

There are reports of wealthy and well-connected people jumping the vaccine line in South Florida.

“It goes to show you there is a pandemic for the rich and for those who are not,” said Florida state representative Omari Hardy.

Despite the slow rollout of the vaccine and the surge in sickness hospital administrators say there is enough space for now.

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“We have capacity for the community and we can always increase our space with our contingency plan,” says Dr. Lenchus.