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'This Is Horrifying': Broward Mayor Steve Geller Urges Vaccinations As COVID Cases Climb

BROWARD COUNTY (CBSMiami) -- Broward County Mayor Steve Geller started a news conference Monday morning saying "there is a lot of bad news on COVID."  There's a sharp spike in cases and a group of people who are still unvaccinated.

"The numbers are doubling every 10 or 11 days," said Mayor Geller. "This is horrifying."

Cases are continuing to climb and so are wait times at local testing sites.

Mayor Geller said Broward County is scheduled to re-open three COVID-19 testing sites next week that had previously closed because of low turnout: Trade Winds Park, Markham Park, and C.B. Smith Park.

Over the weekend, Florida hit a record-high 21,683 new COVID-19 cases and a record 10,207 people in the hospital with the virus, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Miami-Dade and Broward County lead the United States in hospitalizations for COVID-19, said Mayor Geller.

"Their intensive care units are well over-capacity," said Mayor Geller on Monday, speaking about Memorial Healthcare System in Broward. "This does not mean that they are not taking in new emergency patients. What it does mean is they've had to convert a lot of facilities that are not designed as ICUs. They're making their classrooms, they're making their meeting spaces, into additional ICUs."

Mayor Geller announced that Broward residents over the age of 12 who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, 72.5 percent have received one shot and 59.7 percent are fully vaccinated.  But of those in the hospital, 97 percent are unvaccinated.

The population at the hospital has changed dramatically, he added, with younger people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s showing up and needing to be admitted because of COVID-19.

In a push to get more shots in arms, the Broward County Mayor pointed out the ones who are not eligible to get a vaccine right now: children.

Geller said 7 children are now at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hopsital with COVID-19. Two of them are in the ICU.

But even more alarming, Geller said, the number of children visiting the pediatric emergency room jumped in less than a month. In June, 36 children had visited the pediatric ER for COVID-19. By July, that number had jumped to 190.

"Please protect the children of Broward County and get vaccinated," he said.

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