COVID-19 risk follows couple from Seattle to Broward County’s Hollywood Beach

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Two tourists, Dr. Steve Smith and his wife, Carla Granat, were walking near the beach on Thursday in Hollywood. They are from the state of Washington, where at least 66 people have died of COVID-19.

Smith and Granat live in King County, where 56 people died of COVID-19. They found serenity in Hollywood, but now that authorities have closed the beach, restaurants, and other venues, they are considering flying back to Seattle.

“If you think it’s too much, it’s just right, so I think they’re actually doing the right thing,” Dr. Smith said about the restrictions imposed in Broward County.

Hollywood Police Department officers were stopping drivers and pedestrians to request identification as proof of residence of the barrier island.

Mike Grady lives in Dania Beach. He said he likes to ride his bicycle regularly in the area. It was something he was looking forward to since he has been staying home to reduce his risk of getting infected with the new coronavirus.

“We try to go bike riding as relief from just sitting around the house,” Grady said, adding that he knows he fits the profile of the vulnerable population during the pandemic.

His wife, Dotty Grady was not happy about what the police officers were doing since she considers being outside while practicing social distancing low risk.

“We are not going to the store,” Dotty Grady said. “We are not doing anything except going out bike riding.”

Granat, who had been enjoying her walk with her husband, agreed with Grady.

“Statistically, I am going to be OK doing what I am doing," Granat said.

Public health officials said Thursday that as the availability of testing increases, so will the number of COVID-19 patients. On Thursday night, the Florida Department of Health reported the Centers for Disease Control and Protection confirmed 101 cases in Miami-Dade County and 96 cases in Broward County.

Officials announced a COVID-19 patient died in Duval County raising the number of deaths in Florida to nine.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.