Coronavirus: Miami-Dade mayor says ‘this thing is everywhere,’ calls on community to take surge seriously

MIAMI, Fla. – Miami-Dade County continues to be the state’s hardest hit in the surge in COVID-19 cases. In the past day, the county’s confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 3,576 to 64,444. The county has 1,139 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest total in the state.

Last week, Mayor Carlos Gimenez rolled back some of the re-openings that took effect in June, including a controversial decision of restricting restaurants to only serve food outdoors, take out and delivery, limiting serving hours, and closing all indoor dining.

“Right now, this thing is just about everywhere. It started out in 33142, the city of Miami, and 33125, down in South Dade, but now we see our map is orange just about everywhere. With these measures we put into place, we won’t see that those measures will work until probably at least 10 days.”

He told Local 10′s Glenna Milberg on “This Week in South Florida” Sunday that it is up to the people to help stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s up to us, because government can only say, ‘Look, you should do this, this and this.’ At the end of the day, it’s going to be you and I and everybody else in this community that has to have a sense of civic duty to do the things we need to do to drive this contagion down.”

The mayor said that he is concerned that the positivity rate for cases has gone from 8 percent to over 25 percent.

“We’ve seen that our hospital beds and our capacity is starting to dry up because we have so many people that are in the hospital. What we need to do is drive that positivity rate down, so we don’t get to the point where we are overtaxing our health system in Miami-Dade County, and then we have needless deaths,” he said.

Urging everyone, especially “the young,” to take the rise in coronavirus cases seriously, he said that it was the younger demographic who got the message back in early June that “ ‘Everything was OK and we can go out and start to party and hang out with our friends.’ " That’s when Gimenez said the positivity rate among young people skyrocketed. “Now it’s spreading to the rest of the community.”

(Watch the complete interview from “This Week In South Florida”)

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez joins This Week in South Florida to discuss his new order to re-close some businesses due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.

With the state providing 250 contract tracers, Gimenez said it is a good start.

"We will pay $14 million to add another 250 contact tracers. Do we need more? Yes."

But the mayor said the only way contact tracing is at its most effective is when the numbers of people with the virus isn’t so high.

"We need to drive that rate down. The only that's going to work is our behavior and changing the behavior of the people in Miami-Dade County. "

Florida set a record on Sunday for its largest single day of coronavirus cases with 15,300 new coronavirus cases reported, shattering past single day records. State health department data shows 45 more deaths in the state have been attributed to COVID-19 since yesterday.

About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.