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COVID In South Florida: Overall Amount Of Patients At Local Hospitals Increasing But ICU Number Remains Flat

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – COVID-19 is still spreading in South Florida. In Miami-Dade, more people are becoming sicker.

The overall number of patients in hospitals is increasing. However, the ICU number remains flat, at fewer than 100 people.

Doctors agree this isn't a time to relax.

"People want to know if it's going to get bad or not. It hasn't been as fast as we thought, but certainly we are all very worried," Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo with University of Miami Health said.

Doctors are encouraged with Miami-Dade and Broward counties that have two-week average infection rates, for new cases, below 5%. That's a comfortable place for health experts.

However, Broward saw a 7% daily new case infection rate Sunday. Numbers also showed a jump in tests the last few days along with more of them coming back positive.

"We are seeing a little bit of a blip up in the numbers. We are seeing the positivity rate start to nudge up a little bit. But it's too early," Dr. Carrasquillo said.

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Public schools are also battling cases. In Miami-Dade, 144 students have tested positive for COVID-19 and 68 workers, as of Monday. Miami Senior High has the most cases with 8.

In Broward, 45 students have tested positive along with 30 staff members. Tradewinds Elementary and Cypress Bay High have the most cases with 4 each. Numbers for Broward schools are only updated Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Since Halloween is this Saturday, recommendations were discussed during a Jackson Health System news conference Monday.

"If you're going to go trick-or-treating, really wearing a mask 100% of the time. Don't remove your mask to start eating the candy. Eat the candy when you get home," infectious diseases expert Dr. Lilian Abbo said.

Other advice: possibly leave candy outside for trick-or-treaters to avoid interacting.

Because of the pandemic, one doctor is asking people to take a step back in traditional celebrations.

"I'm going to have to take a pass on that and say guys, 'You know, small gatherings with immediate family but certainly no big gatherings. No big parties,'" Dr. Carrasquillo said.

Even though some believe a likely uptick is on the way next month, one doctor says we will get some relief.

"We will get through this everybody. It maybe next year when the vaccines come through. But we will get through this. It's a lot longer than we wanted. But this virus has been very tenacious," the doctor said.

U.S. Health and Human services plans to send a total of close to 6.5 million rapid tests to Florida. The governor's office said most will go to schools and nursing homes.

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