While the state’s largest COVID-19 hot spot records a thousand new cases per day, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez says there is yet no metric that would trigger a safer-at-home order.
The county, which is also one of the nation’s leading hot spots, shut down in-person dining and a mask mandate has been in place since April. But the county is facing mounting pressure to issue a complete rollback.
“There isn’t a metric right now,” Giménez said. “We’re going to be looking at, can we establish a metric that we can publish to the community to say, look, if we don’t get to this point by this time, we’re going to have to take additional measures.”
The Mayor made that announcement alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis and several Miami-Dade County local Mayors during a roundtable at the county government center following a meeting between the elected leaders. He acknowledged it was a metric he and the Mayors would need to discuss with medical experts.
“Obviously, we don’t want to get there, but we need to establish that,” Giménez added. “Nothing came out of this meeting that established that metric.”
The White House reopening recommendations and the Governor’s Re-Open Florida Task Force recommendations outlined benchmarks to enter the next step of the state’s phased reopening program. Those metrics included declining confirmed cases, expanded testing and fewer reported symptoms in hospitals.
The Florida recommendations note the Governor should implement a geographically targeted response if there is an “extreme” rise in new cases, but does not define what constitutes an extreme situation.
DeSantis has sidestepped questions over the past month and a half, and again Tuesday, about what metrics he is looking at for a statewide lockdown. Instead, he has emphasized that Florida is not rolling back its reopening program.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the state needs a long-term strategy, particularly in light of “the fact that things have sort of not gone according to plan.” That plan should include details on when things may need to shut down and at what point they could reopen, he suggested.
Together with thousands of new COVID-19 diagnoses daily, Florida has seen an increased positivity rate among possible new cases. Over the last few weeks, that percentage has been in the double digits after averaging 3% in the final 14 days of May.
This week, the percent positivity has increased in Miami-Dade County, including 22.1% on Monday. That put it closer again to the 26.3% reached Wednesday, with a similar outcome in the rest of South Florida.
In total, 69,803 people have tested positive in Miami-Dade County, and 1,175 residents have died. Statewide, 291,629 people have tested positive and 4,409 residents have died.