New case of locally-transmitted Zika in Miami brings total to 22

MIAMI (WSVN) - The Florida Department of Health has identified one new person who has been tested positive for the Zika virus in Miami-Dade County, bringing the new total of locally-transmitted cases to 22.

7News learned that the transmission zone, according to the CDC, was narrowed to include two area businesses in the 500 square foot Zika zone in Wynwood, but for the sake of said businesses, their names will not be released.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said there are 96 percent less mosquitoes in the Wynwood area since they began to spray mosquito pesticide from the ground and air. Officials conducted aerial sprays of pesticide, Wednesday morning.

Wynwood’s Business Improvement District, along with the DOH and members of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and Wynwood business owners, met Wednesday with the goal of improving things for business in the area.

The CDC said the travel advisory will remain at least for another month.

Florida Representative Frederica Wilson and others walked through the streets of Little Haiti, Wednesday, passing out mosquito repellent and getting the word out about prevention.

“Keep yourselves inside,” said Wilson. “If you are pregnant, see your OBGYN. Make sure that all water that’s collected after it rains here every day, is emptied out.”

Local government officials are also asking for Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency, and for congress to come back into session to pass Zika funding.

“We have to understand that this an emergency,” said Wilson. “This is not something to play with. This is not something that we can put on the back burner and say, ‘We’ll do it later.'”

Although there are less mosquitoes in Wynwood, the Zika infections are rising.

And Despite the CDC’s advisory for pregnant women to avoid Wynwood, a pregnant woman was spotted walking through the Wynwood Arts District, Wednesday.

“I know about it, that is why I’m using repellent all of the time,” she said. “I think it is dangerous, but not when the sun shines so brighly. Because when the sun shines, they do not fly.”

Mercy Manana who was visiting Wynwood said the spraying is reassuring. “I think it is more protected if anything because I know they are doing all the spraying,” she said.

The Health Department said the active transmissions are only happening in one hot zone near Wynwood, which according to the CDC, includes two businesses, but officials refuse to give specifics.

“There’s no need for people to know any of that,” said Florida Department of Health’s Dr. Lillian Rivera. “They just need to know what’s in the report.”

When asked specifically about the businesses, Rivera said, “‘Cause, no. Well, no, no, no.”

Gimenez also refused to give details. “I’m not gonna say right now,” he said. “No, the CDC doesn’t want to tell you. I’m not gonna say that.”

Officials stress that the buffer zone is what’s important and not the exact location.

At a special commission meeting Tuesday, the mayor said protecting pregnant women is still the priority.

According to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) confirmed, Tuesday, four new people likely contracted the virus in the Wynwood area of Miami, most likely through a mosquito bite.

Governor Scott said, “Today, we have learned that there are four new individuals that have local transmissions of Zika in our state, likely through a mosquito bite. All four of these cases are located in the same, small area of Wynwood that is less than one square mile.”

DOH still believes local transmissions of the virus in the United States are only taking place in Wynwood.

However, travel-related cases of Zika are affecting people worldwide.

“This is not only an issue affecting us here in Florida – this is a national issue. Florida is just at the head of it with the first cases of local transmission of Zika. Just today, we learned that a baby born with microcephaly caused by Zika died in Texas – a heartbreaking tragedy in our country.”

Back at home, Gimenez said as a preventative measure, crews will go to all 150,000 storm drains throughout the entire county to treat them with chemicals, so mosquitoes cannot breed. “There is a little thing called a dunk. We throw it in there. It prevents any mosquitoes from breeding there,” Gimenez said. “But it is only good for 30 days, so we have to do 5,000 drains a day for 30 days in order to complete the cycle.”

Meanwhile, in the hot zone, Wynwood’s social appeal still stands, as several models posed for a photoshoot Tuesday along colorful walls, near our 7News truck. The crew brought the essentials to the shoot, including makeup, hair product and of course, mosquito repellant.

A big part of the message Tuesday was that businesses are still open in Wynwood. The Miami-Dade tourism chief also said visitors are more likely to die in a car wreck in Miami than contract Zika.

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