Miami-Dade steps up COVID measures and hires Moskowitz to guide response

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Florida. – Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Jackson Memorial Hospital officials held a press conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the surge in COVID-19 cases and the fight against the spread of the virus.

Beginning August 16, all Miami-Dade County employees will be required to take a weekly COVID-19 test and will be required to provide proof of vaccination to opt out. “Exceptions will only be made on a case-by-case basis,” said Levine Cava.

Health officials say coronavirus hospital admissions are picking up again as the stronger Delta variant of the virus cuts across the country.

Levine Cava calls this a serious and worrying trend, with nearly 1,500 people across the county being hospitalized while 9 out of 10 residents are not vaccinated. This leads to the expansion of more vaccination and testing centers across South Florida.

Miami-Dade County officials and Levine Cava also announced on Thursday that they had hired Jared Moskowitz to coordinate their COVID response. Moskowitz, a native of Broward County, is the former state emergency director.

advertisement

The rapid rise is forcing hospitals to return to COVID-19 readiness just a few weeks after many closed coronavirus wards, field hospitals and other pandemic emergency measures.

The number of people currently hospitalized with the virus in the United States more than tripled from an average of around 12,000 to nearly 43,000 in the past month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That is far from the 124,000 in hospitals at the height of the winter surge in January. However, health experts say this wave is perhaps more worrying because it has risen faster than the previous ones. This time around, a shockingly large proportion of the patients are young adults.

And to the frustration of public health professionals and frontline health workers, the vast majority of those now hospitalized are unvaccinated.

advertisement

Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana alone account for nearly 40% of all hospital admissions in the country. Louisiana and Georgia have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with about 38% of their populations being fully vaccinated. Florida is closer to the national value at 49%. By comparison, most New England states are well over 60%.

The variant has brought new US cases averaging 94,000 per day, a level not seen since mid-February. The daily death toll has increased 75% in the past two weeks, rising from an average of 244 to 426. The total death toll in the US is more than 614,000.

Across Florida, more than 12,000 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized on Wednesday, and nearly 2,500 of them were in intensive care beds. The state averages nearly 18,000 new cases each day, up from fewer than 2,000 in the first week of July. In total, Florida has recorded more than 39,100 coronavirus deaths.

advertisement

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has ruled against mask rules and other mandatory measures, saying it is important to keep Florida’s economy moving.

“Florida is a free state and we will empower our people. We’re not going to let Joe Biden and his bureaucratic lackeys come in and usurp the rights and freedoms of the Floridians, ”DeSantis, who has been researching a possible 2024 presidency, said in a donation email on Wednesday.

Copyright 2021 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments are closed.