MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is expressing concern but resolve to keep the economy in its current phase of reopening as COVID-19 cases rise at a record rate once again.
Thursday marked the fifth time in just two weeks that Florida broke its one-day record for new coronavirus cases, as 3,207 more cases were confirmed by the health department.
There’s also been an uptick in recent days of the percentage of people testing positive and the number of patients admitted to hospitals.
“That’s what is concerning,” Gimenez said of the hospital numbers. “But we are not going back at this point. We need to enforce the rules that we have because we think the rules we have will work, and we need to give that a chance.”
The mayor announced Wednesday that the county was going to stiffen up enforcement of the safety precautions, threatening to shut down businesses that don’t comply.
Since the first executive order, Miami-Dade police say they have done more than 378,000 business checks, and issued over 1,000 warnings.
“Since the first executive order MDPD has done a total of 378,687 business checks, and a total of 1,045 warnings were issued.” -@MiamiDadePD I asked @MayorGimenez about this today. SOUND ON 👇 2/2 pic.twitter.com/ocGTjfIqlA— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) June 18, 2020
Fueling the rise in cases: More people interacting as businesses reopen, increased testing capacity and mass gatherings as community members march for racial equity.
“Is there a direct correlation yet?” Gimenez asked about the protests. “I don’t know, but I am worried about it.”
Gimenez says he wants to work with protest organizers to encourage their continued recommendation of using face-coverings while demonstrating.
And he reiterated the refrain we’ve heard throughout this pandemic — that lives and livelihoods depend on people following the new rules.
“COVID-19 isn’t just going to disappear anytime soon,” he said, “so we can’t let our guard down.”