MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Miami-Dade is expanding a hotel program to help protect households from being exposed to COVID-19.
The state is providing another 400 hotel rooms to the county's 'hotel isolation' program to help separate people who test positive for the virus and need to self-isolate from at-risk family members.
"We currently have 500 beds, 400 from the Governor and the 100 we already had," said Miami-Dade County Deputy Mayor Maurice Kemp during a live Zoom video conference with reporters on Friday morning.
The recent spike in COVID-19 infections among 18- to 34-year-olds has put multigenerational households, common in the county, at a particular risk of having an older member end up in the hospital.
"This is a critical step to stop the spread of the virus in multi-generational households, especially for families that do not have sufficient room for a family member to isolate from others," Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement.
With the additional hotel rooms, the county is expanding the criteria.
"The current program, the hospitals refer folks to the Department of Health, they screen them and then we provide transportation to the hotels. The expanded program will also include provisions for people who aren't at the hospitals to get into the hotels," explained Kemp, who is in charge of the program.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez says he wants to see all of the rooms occupied so the spread of infection can be reduced, adding, "they haven't had that many referrals in the first hundred."
The expansion of the program will also help families with a member who has tested positive for the virus but does not necessarily have symptoms, though that person can still spread the virus to family members.
"I want to stress once again that everyone must take personal responsibility, wear masks in public spaces inside and outdoors, stay six feet apart to social distance and if they live with others and are out and about, they need to take measures to protect their loved ones. That's the only way we can beat this virus - together," said Gimenez.
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