Jackson Memorial Hospital alters visitation policy amid COVID-19 rise

Miami-Dade County to keep masks optional in schools

Jackson Health puts restrictions back in place for visitors while Miami-Dade Public Schools' superintendent says mask wearing will continue to be optional for student. This as cases rise in South Florida.

MIAMI, Fla. – All across South Florida, there’s an increase in COVID-19 cases again. On Monday, Jackson Memorial Hospital revisited its visitation guidelines, saying that effective at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, July 21, they are limiting visitors in their emergency department and in patient rooms in hospitals.

Outpatient guests will be required to stay in the waiting room or lobby and only one “healthy” guest will be permitted, according to the latest guidelines.

[See Jackson Memorial’s COVID-19 revised visitation guidelines]

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, said the vast majority of new cases, especially those who are hospitalized, are people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. She said this is especially prevalent among 12 to 49-year-olds.

“In terms of overall numbers, it’s younger people who are mostly getting it, which is the part of the population that’s under-vaccinated right now,” Marty said.

With a spike in cases happening across Florida, the governor says he resists pushing people to get vaccinated.

Even so, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told Local 10 News Monday that because of the information their experts have provided and the availability of vaccines for those 12 and older, students will not be forced to wear masks.

“We are maintaining the position that we announced a couple of weeks ago, which is mask optional as we return back to school,” Carvalho said.

According to experts, South Florida is moving in the wrong direction in terms of COVID-19.

In fact, just last week, as the state reported the highest jump in new cases in months, Miami-Dade reported more than 7,000 new cases – the most in any individual Florida county for the week.

“In South Florida, we are seeing a resurgence, an increase at all of our hospitals with hospitalizations and deaths, sadly to say,” said Dr. Robert Goldszer, chief medical officer at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “Throughout all of our hospitals, Mount Sinai, but all of the other hospitals, there are about three times as many as they were a month ago and a resurgence of people in our ICUs.”

Marty explains why. “As cases go up, people start to use their public health measures, that halts the spread and then they see ‘Oh, things are going down’ — their behavior changes again and that brings another upswing.”

Goldszer said that 95 to 99 percent of the patients being admitted to the hospital are not vaccinated.

“So almost universally, we’re seeing non-vaccinated patients,” he said.

When asked if we all needed to be wearing masks again at this point, Marty reiterated that no public health measure is 100 percent effective, but the more of us that use them, the safer we can be and the sooner we can be rid of the virus.

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.