MIAMI (WSVN) - The recent rise of coronavirus cases in South Florida have led to long lines at testing sites throughout the region, and health experts are urging caution as the holidays approach.

The surge has caused demand for testing to increase at Hard Rock Stadium, South Florida’s busiest state-run site. The wait time at the Miami Gardens site on Friday reached nearly two hours, forcing officials to think about turning patients away.

“We’re expecting to hit a peak the third week in November, sometime around Thanksgiving,” Miami-Dade Deputy Mayor Jennifer Moon said.

Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade County’s outgoing mayor, predicts a possible peak in COVID-19 cases as the holidays roll in, and doctors are warning the public as cases continue climbing. The Miami-Dade County Commission installed Plexiglas for in-person meetings as a precaution.

“The vast majority of transmissions are happening in these family gatherings, these friend gatherings where you’re mixing households,” Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, said.

The Florida Department of Health reported nearly 7,000 new COVID-19 cases, with 73 new deaths, on Friday.

There were over 1,800 new cases in Miami-Dade County with a 9.16% positivity rate. In Broward County, 853 new cases were reported with a 8.88% positivity rate, and in Monroe County, 41 new cases were reported with an 13.06% positivity rate.

Experts ask the public to keep their Thanksgiving celebrations in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If you do have some kind of a celebration, have it outdoors,” Marty said. “Make sure that people from different households are in different tables.”

Meanwhile, organizers for the Coconut Grove Arts Festival have cancelled their February 2021 event due to coronavirus concerns.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox