Doctor warns mask-wearing is critical as coronavirus cases continue to rise in South Florida

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Dr. Sergio Segarra warned on Thursday that it is critical that South Floridians continue to wear face masks to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Segarra is the chief medical officer at the 680-bed Baptist Hospital in southwest Miami-Dade County. He said he is concerned that people seem to be dropping their guard.

Segarra also said the use of face coverings in combination with social distancing has proven effective and there is no reason why people should stop wearing them.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a “strong recommendation” for authorities to require face masks to both passengers and operators of airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares.

RELATED STORY: Coronavirus: Florida reports 5,557 new cases Thursday, most in 2 months

Florida nursing homes ask for patience as new policies are put in place for visitors
Florida nursing homes ask for patience as new policies are put in place for visitors

Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state is prepared to face rising cases, so he lifted the preventive restrictions at long-term care facilities statewide.

Mortality rates are higher the older the COVID-19 patient is, but it has dropped among hospitalized patients aged 60-69 due to improvements in the medical care of COVID-19 patients.

“We have the tools that we need,” DeSantis said during a news conference. “We have got the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment); we have got the testing capability.”

DeSantis said he decided to lift the restrictions at nursing homes and other types of long-term care facilities because there is no reason to sound the alarm anymore.

“Patients being treated for COVID statewide in ICUs (Intensive Care Units) is the lowest it has been, I think, since the beginning of June,” DeSantis told reporters.

According to the CDC, face mask use may be exempted for the following categories of people:

  • a child under the age of two;
  • a person with written instructions from a licensed medical provider to not wear a mask;
  • a person with a disability, mental health condition, or sensory sensitivity;
  • a person who is hearing impaired, or communicating with someone who is hearing impaired;
  • a person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty.

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