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Miami Beach Mayor Wants Governor To 'Convey A Sense Of Urgency' As County Leads Statewide Surge Of New COVID-19 Cases

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County continues to lead the statewide surge of new COVID-19 cases, even with a slight dip in Tuesday's positivity test rate.

In a tweet from Dr. Aileen Marty, Florida International University's infectious disease specialist, she said, "26 patients with COVID-19 are in beds we have emergently turned into ICU beds. This is because we have 431 patients that require ICU care in Miami-Dade but we only have 405 ICU beds."

Numbers show there are still more than 2,000 people in Miami-Dade hospitals battling the virus.

The latest numbers show Miami-Dade is over capacity for COVID related ICU beds, but regular ICU countywide is only 60% filled. Those beds can be converted For a COVID patient.

"Having a full intensive care floor is not an uncommon thing to do. We do expect to run out of beds but not yet," Jackson Health CEO and President Carlos Migoya said.

The leader says they could run out in 3 to 5 weeks of the community doesn't change its ways and really wear their masks.

The virus continues to spread in the county, which is why Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber wants Gov. Ron DeSantis to have a tough talk with residents statewide, especially when it comes to facial coverings.

"It's very important that he convey a sense of urgency to people because we are having a serious problem with compliance from certain sectors of the community," Gelber told CBS4 in a phone interview.

The mayor was among several who met with the governor in a roundtable discussion Tuesday to express concerns and make suggestions.

But the mayor said the federal government left many decisions for states and Florida left many decisions up to local leaders.

"I think he wanted to hear from us what we thought about what was going on and suggestions we might have," said Gelber.

The state's department of emergency management shows Wednesday's positivity rate at close to 29% - slightly up from Tuesday's rate.

But the county is well above the goal of getting below 10%.

That positivity rate is higher than the 20% most recent daily rate recorded by the state health department. That's because the health department only counts people testing to see if they're positive for the first time. Emergency management also includes people testing to see if they're still positive.

Miami Beach even decided to not allow short term vacation rentals.

The mayor said they became party homes, which impacted others.

"Younger people are obviously socializing and doing things that are making themselves spreaders and their entire families are getting the disease," said Gelber.

The virus is not only impacting families. Law enforcement officers have also been exposed.

CBS4 News has learned 94 Miami-Dade police officers are not working because they have COVID-19, and another 18 officers are in quarantine.

In the City of Miami, 68 officers have tested positive and 83 officers are in quarantine waiting for test results.

Local leaders overall say the spread may easily happen at homes and home gatherings.

Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III says our interactions must change to slow it down.

"That physical connection that we have with each other is how we express our affection for each other. I get that. We can have that back one day but it's not safe right now," the mayor said.


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