Miami Beach commissioners discuss how to move forward as COVID-19 cases hit record-high

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach commissioners met on Wednesday to discuss how the city is handing the coronavirus outbreak on the same day the Florida Department of Health reported a record-shattering increase in cases for one day.

The FDOH reported an increase of 5,508 new COVID-19 cases in the state, with 957 of those cases solely in Miami-Dade County.

Miami Beach city leaders are now reiterating that the best way for residents to protect themselves is to wear a face mask when out in public.

Health experts are troubled by the spike of coronavirus cases in Florida.

“The percentage of positive tests is consistently above 10%,” said Dr. Glenn Morris with the University of Florida.

Cities across Miami-Dade County are also cracking down on safety guidelines and discussing the next steps moving forward to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We don’t want to go backwards; we don’t want to have to be closed,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales.

Miami Beach Code Enforcement officers are out in full force to ensure local businesses comply with safety guidelines.

“Our function is to educate all the businesses, all the residents,” said Miami Beach Code Compliance officer Jorge Hernandez. “That’s what we’re here for: to educate them.”

Officials discussed how face masks have become a controversial topic.

“We gotta depoliticize masks,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz. “At the end of the day, is it inconvenient? Sure. But does it work? Yes.”

Leaders in Miami Beach point to the reopening of the city as the reason for the increase of cases across the state, but they’re also waiting to see if recent protests create a spike in infections as well.

“Sometimes it takes a week or two for the virus to move, and then for it to reveal itself,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “Whenever the protests were, we’ll start to see now.”

Gelber said he hopes by residents following the rules, the trend of cases can at least flatten.

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