Coronavirus: Gov. Ron DeSantis acknowledges South Florida facing ‘most significant outbreak’

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Just overnight from Friday to Saturday, Miami-Dade County saw a surge of coronavirus cases, up 2,527, and in Broward County, 1,548 in a 24-hour time period.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at a press conference at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton on Saturday saying that testing for coronavirus ramped up, “especially in these past few weeks.” He acknowledged the surge in numbers in the two counties.

"Southern Florida is facing the most significant outbreak," he said.

Florida reported an additional 10,360 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases to 254,511 across the state. The number of deaths in the state is now 4,197, up 95 from the day before.

The governor said the state has tested 2.4 million people since the pandemic began — one of every nine people in Florida.

(Watch the 7/11/20 press conference below)

Ron DeSantis presser - 7/11/20

WATCH LIVE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks from Blake Medical Center in Bradenton on Saturday to discuss the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Saturday, July 11, 2020

Miami-Dade County is the state’s hotspot with the highest number of coronavirus cases at 60,868.

In response to the surge in that county, Mayor Carlos Gimenez shut down indoor dining in restaurants, allowing only outdoor seating. The decision angered some of the city mayors who said the decision was abrupt and that they weren’t shown hard facts to support the closures.

“When decisions are opinion based and Mayor Gimenez can’t come to us with facts, that’s disturbing. We all want what is right for our community, but we want to be involved, we want to be informed,” North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillipo said.

Gimenez defended his decision claiming that restaurants are the only businesses where people must remove their masks to eat and drink and with the current positivity rate, he said it would be irresponsible for him to allow indoor dining.

In Broward County, Day Two of an updated emergency order is in effect. Indoor dining in restaurants is still allowed, but capped at 6 people per table and the county will impose stiffer fines for businesses not following the rules.

County commissioners discussed the order at a special meeting on Friday along with health officials who underscored the need for additional resources, which includes hospital staff.

Leah Carpenter, the CEO of Memorial West in Pembroke Pines said: “My biggest challenge is staffing. I’m busting at the seams in the emergency room, I’m busting at the seams inside the hospital, I’m busting at the seams in terms of the ICU.”

In Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital reported they have enough hospital beds and ventilators for now. Additional nurses to work in the intensive care areas are headed to the hospital from around the state to help out.

DeSantis said more testing is being done across the state and especially in South Florida. Broward County will also get more contract tracers — about 450 are being hired.

About the Authors:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local