MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Long lines formed at the reopened Hard Rock Stadium COVID-19 testing site after the site was shut down due to floodwaters from Tropical Storm Eta.
Gates to the Miami Gardens site reopened Thursday morning, and it comes as cases continue to surge across South Florida and across the state.
7SkyForce HD hovered over long lines as cars wrapped around corners and stretched across the lot while people waited for up to three hours to get tested. Similar lengthy lines formed at Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah, Tamiami Park and Marlins Park in Miami.
“It’s not a little spike. It’s a very, very significant spike,” Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, said.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are also on the rise in Miami-Dade County. As of Thursday, the number reported was 529 compared to two weeks ago with reports of 412.
“We have to look at what’s going on with our hospitals, and our admissions rates are absolutely going up,” Marty said. “The use of the mask, the 6-foot distance, the hygiene, staying away from indoor spaces and crowded places.”
Dr. Andrew Pastewski, Jackson South’s ICU Medical Director, said the difference with the latest surge in cases is that healthcare workers have learned a lot since the previous two surges. For example, they have reevaluated a patient’s infectious period and have access to more treatments, such as steroids, plasma and Remdesivir.
“This is what we consider our third surge,” Pastewski said. “We’re hustling and moving patients in and out and getting patients home quicker.”
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez extended the local state of emergency and spoke on the current state of the pandemic in the city.
“Our week over week increase was from about 700 cases a week, two weeks ago, to about 1,000 cases a week,” he said, “so that number has gone up significantly. Our percent positive has also gone up from about 5% to about 7%.”
Broward County Mayor Dale Holness also held a news conference on Tuesday where he stressed the importance of wearing masks and social distancing.
“People are still dying, folks,” he said. “We’ve got to work together. It’s all of us that are in this together.”
With the holidays quickly approaching, officials are warning the public to take extra precautions to prevent spreading the virus.
“The biggest risk facing us is this coming Thanksgiving,” said Miami Commissioner Ken Russell. “Please don’t feel awkward that you don’t give your grandmother a close hug without a mask. You’re taking care of her and showing her love in that way, more than the hug.”
Health experts also recommended for people not to host a holiday get together. However, for those hosting a holiday get together, they recommend hosting it outside, keeping them small and only seat people in the same household at a table.
“On behalf of all of us, we’re all working hard, suffering a little bit every day, please wear your masks,” Pastewski said.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 testing site at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale will remain closed until Nov. 17.
On Thursday, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, scheduled to take place in February, was officially canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, but organizers said they are working on plans for the festival to take place in 2022.