MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Members of the National Guard have been recalled to staff the field hospital at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
It has never had a case and no transfers of patients have been scheduled yet, but steadily increasing coronavirus numbers had the governor and Miami-Dade County’s mayors appealing to the public for help Tuesday.
This time, the mayors were all on message. All wearing masks, as they met with Gov. Ron DeSantis in Miami as the county’s COVID-19 numbers rise.
“Some of the metrics have risen,” DeSantis said. “Certainly the number of positives tests, which are certainly an indicator but not the most important.”
On Tuesday Miami-Dade’s 14-day average of positive tests headed toward 27 percent.
Perhaps the most important metric: Real-time hospital occupancy late this afternoon was just over 19%, with County Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s own data showing ICU beds filled above capacity.
The slow but steady rise this month is the reason the National Guard re-staffed the overflow field hospital waiting at Miami Beach Convention Center, just in case.
“We have to create a greater sense of urgency — not just urging them but creating urgency,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.
Some of the city mayors most critical of the county’s closures — Doral’s among them — are now on message with Gimenez.
“The basic rules should be the same. The message should be the same. And then each city should have its own nuances,” Gimenez said.
Adding to the county closures, Miami Beach has banned short-term rentals, targeting the party houses where the virus has been spreading.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez asked the governor for isolation hotel rooms to help infected family members, and at least 500 more contact tracers. He also sought clear county-wide messaging.
“There is a significant amount of pressure for us to shut down at some level,” Suarez said, “and I think we are sort of at that critical juncture.”