Broward mayor concerned COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization not dropping

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Mayor Steve Geller is reminding residents not to let their guard down when it comes to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“Even as our vaccine numbers are going up, so is the COVID positivity rate,” the mayor says. “So is the rate of hospitalization, so is the rate of intensive care, so is the hospital COVID count.”

On Wednesday, Local 10 News took you exclusively inside Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines, where over a year into the pandemic, staff continues to battle to save lives from a disease that has already killed nearly 34,000 Floridians.

Florida on Thursday announced the largest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases in nearly two months. Of the state’s 7,939 new cases, 947 were in Broward.

Geller has expressed frustration with Gov. Ron DeSantis, who he says is making it harder to enforce rules to urge people to get vaccinated.

And he spoke of an awareness campaign to fight vaccine hesitancy and misinformation.

“We’re going to be running out of people who want to get the vaccine,” Geller said.

Earlier this week, Broward commissioners agreed to relax some COVID-19 restrictions once the county reaches a 50% vaccination rate and a 5% or less COVID-19 positivity rate for 10 days.

The mayor says he consulted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with his reopening plans and was told he’s the first county leader in the country to do so. But he says he was disappointed the CDC did not give him specific feedback or clear guidance.

“Their response was telling me to look at their published guidelines, which didn’t really answer any of the questions I was asking,” he said.

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