It’s Monday, March 23, and coronavirus cases have nearly doubled state-wide since last Friday. Miami-Dade has taken the lead with over 220 cases, and Palm Beach has reported its first death.
According to the Florida Department of Health, numbers continue to increase in the state with a total of 1007 reported Sunday night. That’s nearly double the cases reported last Friday. The records also show one more death due to the virus, an 88-year-old Palm Beach County man.
A student at the University of Miami tested positive for COVID 19, school officials said Saturday. The student, whose name was not released, has remained in isolation asymptomatic and health officials tried to reach with those who had close contact. Students at the University who are seeking information or treatment are offered advice at the University website.
The Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, issued an order on Saturday to close all hotels, motels and any other establishments that offered lodging. The order excepts hosting those affected during the emergency and those who have nowhere else to stay. In related news, the Miami Herald reported Sunday night the Miami-Dade County homeless shelter received an emergency cleaning when several men turned up ill.
Gimenez also said that short-term vacation rentals must also be terminated by Monday, and new rental agreements will not be allowed.
According to a press release by Miami-Dade County officials, effective Sunday, Miami-Dade transit will suspend all transit fares, auto-monthly reload passes and parking fees. Passengers will also be required to board all vehicles through rear entrances.
Starting Monday, the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot will operate as a COVID 19 testing site. The testing site will be one of the three that will be run by the National Guard. Only those who are 65 and older with symptoms can be screened for the virus. First responders and healthcare workers will also be seen. More than 700 emergency workers were tested there on Sunday. Also, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis held a press conference Sunday at the stadium, explaining the three-step process for the drive-thru testing site and said that testing should not take longer than 10 to 15 minutes per vehicle.
Broward County Mayor Dale Holness ordered all non-essential businesses to close. The closures are to be made effective at 12:01 AM on Monday.
On the South Florida Media Network: Angelo Gomez writes about a pass/fail petition FIU students are requesting for the spring semester due to the Coronavirus.
Multimedia story of the day: The New York Times reports on data collected by Descartes Labs in which smartphone
movements were used to track the impact of social distancing. The data show the pandemic has caused travel to plummet in greatly impacted states. Those that have fewer cases have seen travel decline only slightly, which has caused difficulty in controlling the outbreak.