MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava is reinstating an emergency order requiring hospitals to report the number of COVID-19 cases being treated each day and the number of available of hospital beds, due to the increasing number of Omicron variant cases.
“Despite all of our efforts, the pandemic is not over,” said Mayor Levine-Cava on Thursday at a news conference at Tropical Park.READ MORE: WFOR Launches New Live, Local Streaming Service CBSNews Miami
There are growing concerns from the Mayor as cases are beginning to spike as we enter the peak of the holiday season.
According to experts, the majority of people testing positive right now are showing results of the Omicron variant.
It’s here and it’s spreading quickly. Doctors say 80% of positive results right now are showing up as Omicron.
An uptick in the variant is causing cases to surge across the country.
“I can confirm now what we are seeing is a rapid convergence of the Omicron variant,” said David Andrews, the Medical Director of the Pathology Lab at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Positivity rates are up, hospitalization rates are up, and testing sites are slammed.
“We’ve actually seen a significant spike in testing demand over the last several days,” said Ron Goncalves, the General Manager at Nomi Health.
At Tropical Park Thursday afternoon, the lines for people to get tested stretched for miles.
“What was normally a 15-minute wait here has gone up to an hour in some instances,” said Goncalves.READ MORE: Mark Rosenberg Acknowledges He Resigned As FIU President Because ‘I Caused Discomfort For A Valued Employee’
“We cannot allow our hospitals to be overwhelmed,” said Levine-Cava.
To prevent this from happening, effective Friday, all hospitals must once again report daily COVID-19 numbers, bed, and ventilator availability, as well as how many vaccines they’re administering.
The order, which had been issued in July as the Delta variant swept across the region, was lifted by the mayor in November as the number of cases reported dropped significantly.
Now it’s back.
“It’s as critical as ever that we follow the key steps that we know will prevent the disease,” said the mayor.
It’s hard to imagine something more contagious than the Delta variant, but according to doctors, Omicron is 2 to 4 times more transmissible.
“Rapidly, Omicron is replacing Delta variant. At this moment over 80% of samples are testing for the Omicron variant,” said Andrews.
On the positive side it appears that a lot of the people testing positive appear to be asymptomatic or having mild symptoms,” said Peter Paige, Chief Physician Executive at Jackson Health System.
Still, Mayor Levine-Cava is encouraging everyone to consider doing the holidays a little differently this year, like hosting dinner outside.
“Gathering outdoors, we know, reduces the risk significantly of transmission,” she said.MORE NEWS: Fort Lauderdale Man Now Multimillionaire After Winning Top Prize In Florida Lottery Scratch Off Game
Experts are also suggesting, if you’re traveling for the holidays or planning a large gathering, take some time beforehand and get tested.