MIAMI – Emergency room doctors say this is a crucial time, with South Florida on the brink of a second surge of the coronavirus.
It is COVID-19 déjà vu, with lines getting longer again at testing sites and concern from school faculty.
“I think we are on the cusp of a second surge,” said Dr. Randy Katz, chairman of emergency medicine at Memorial Regional Hospital.
Seeing an uptick in admitted patients, the medical community is reminding the public to follow the safety guidelines, especially heading into the Halloween weekend.
“This virus spreads very quickly,” Katz said. “Within weeks, we could see a significant increase in our community.”
“I think we are on the cusp of a second surge.” I spoke with Dr. Randy Katz, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Memorial Regional Hospital @mhshospital about the steady uptick in #COVID19 cases + admitted patients. #SoundOn “we are at that early inflection point.” #SoundOn ▶️ pic.twitter.com/gxSAy2w9Su— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) October 29, 2020
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said Thursday that he’s “very concerned that I see the trends moving in the wrong direction.”
One group of front-line workers reaching out to Local 10 News amid growing community spread is the bus drivers who are transporting students, not knowing if they have COVID-19.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools bus drivers say they are concerned school officials are not letting them know if the students sent home to quarantine were also on their routes.
“We don’t know. They are putting us in harm’s way,” said Mairetha Milton, who has been driving a bus for the district for 20 years.
Sonya Coley, a 30-year bus driver, added: “We could have come in contact with those people and they are not letting us know.”
Phyllis Talley Leflore — president of the union that represents the bus drivers and also food service, security, maintenance and custodial staff at schools — is playing the role of a COVID-19 investigator to help keep her people informed.
“We have to make sure that once the students are being tested, our bus drivers are being tested,” she said.
Miami-Dade’s school district said it is in communication with the bus drivers about positive cases and added that the entire bus fleet is sanitized each evening.
The district sent a response to the drivers' concerns in a statement that reads in part:
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) remains committed to ensuring the health and well-being of our students and employees. As such, the District is implementing all necessary mitigation measures as soon as cases are reported, including on our buses. M-DCPS proactively and safely prepares for the transporting of over 16,000 students through nightly sanitizations of our entire bus fleet.”