Florida passed 100,000 coronavirus cases as the Mayor of Miami blamed recently reopened restaurants for the recent surge – but he was spotted flouting social distancing guidelines at a restaurant that’s now closed over health violations.
The Florida Department of Health on Monday announced 2,926 new infections of coronavirus, meaning that state’s total number of confirmed cases reached 100,217.
The department also recorded 12 new deaths, bringing the state’s death toll to 3,173 as Florida remains in Phase 2 of its reopening plan.
The grim milestone was preceded by Florida officials reporting 3,400 new case on Sunday and 4,000 cases on Saturday.
The Miami Herald reports that through June 3, new cases had consistently trended upwards since mid-May and the influx could not be attributed solely to increased testing.
Florida, one of the last states to impose stay-at-home restrictions and one of the first to begin lifting them, passed 100,000 confirmed cases on Monday
Phase 2 saw nightclubs, restaurants and other establishments reopen with restricted capacity across Florida when it launched earlier this month.
Despite the spike, Gov. Ron DeSantis said last week that he refused to place lockdown restrictions on Floridians again.
‘We’re not rolling back. The reason we did the mitigation was to protect the hospital system,’ he said,
The majority of Florida’s cases are linked to four counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe.
Miami-Dade has the highest number of confirmed cases with 26,239 confirmed infections and 884 deaths.
Miami-Dade has the highest number of confirmed cases with 26,239 confirmed infections and 884 deaths. Pictured: Four Miami residents relaxing on South beach on June 19
New cases had consistently trended upwards since mid-May in Florida (pictured), according to the Miami Herald
One method health officials are using to determine the pandemic’s status is hospitalizations.
Coronavirus testing was long touted as the best way to gauge a regions’ pandemic level, but recording hospitalizations can tell officials in real time how many people are sick with COVID-19.
Tests on other hand usually take three to five days to reveal results.
Florida’s health department acknowledged that it does not ‘have a figure’ to show the current number of hospitalizations, but 82 hospitalizations on Monday brought the state’s formal total to 13,119 patients.
In Miami-Dade County, hospitalizations reached an all-time high of 776 patients, according to the county’s ‘New Normal’ dashboard.
FLORIDA DEATHS: The state recorded 17 news deaths on Sunday compared to the record 84 in early May
Health officials say the upward trends in testing positivity rates that several states are reporting is particularly alarming. The WHO considers positivity rates above 5% to be especially concerning. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows the average rates over the past week in Florida (right)is above 10 percent
The last three days saw 320 patients admitted to hospitals while only 123 were discharged, The Miami Herald reports.
Fortunately, there have been no admissions from nursing homes in the last two days.
Coronavirus tests are also still be administered despite early struggles. According to the dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine, Florida should be testing around 33.000 people daily.
On Sunday, the Department of Health recorded 37,169 new tests with a positive rate of 8.98 per cent.
So far, 1,911,676 tests have reportedly been administered and 1,618,540 residents have undergoing testing.
Of that total, 100,217 Floridians, or 6.19 per cent, have tested positive. More than 1,500 people are still awaiting results.
Gov. DeSantis earlier this week attempted to pass off blame for the spike in coronavirus cases on migrant farmers in the state, but Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said Miami’s surge was caused by restaurants.
Gov. DeSantis (left) earlier this week cast blame of the recent spike on migrant workers, but Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (right) blamed recently reopened restaurants
Miami-Dade was initially one of three counties that did not enter Phase 2 with the rest of Florida because of how severe the pandemic was in that area.
But DeSantis allowed those county leaders to chose when they would resume course, prompting Mayor Suarez to go full steam ahead.
‘When we started opening up our restaurants, unfortunately I think society started to think that we were signaling the all clear,’ Suarez said during a press conference, WPLG reports.
‘If we don’t act now, if we are not disciplined, this could get out of control.’
The Miami Herald reports that three restaurants have already closed over public health violations.
Astra , Swan and El Secreto Bar & Grill were reportedly not on par with the state’s guidelines last week.
All three owners could be slapped with a $500 fine and up to 180 days in jail over the violations.
Three Miami restaurants were closed after authorities determined they violated coronavirus public health guidelines, including El Secreto Bar & Grill (left) and Arta (right)
MIami’s Swan restaurant (pictured) was also closed down, but not before Mayor Suarez was pictured inside earlier this month
‘There will be zero tolerance for establishments that do not follow the rules to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19,’ said Miami-Dade County Mayor Gimenez.
Suarez acknowledged that hospitalizations in the state were on the rise, but that most of the cases were younger Americans rather than elderly residents.
‘We are starting to see our hospital numbers tick up,’ he said.
‘We do know that the great majority of the new positives are the 18 to 35 demographic, but of course those people in that demographic go home and interact with their parents and grandparents and that’s a tremendous concern.’
He added that he would not push Miami into Phase 3 of reopening with coronavirus numbers spiking the way they have.
Mayor Suarez (center) was pictured inside Swan, reportedly on June 11, with a group of people while other flouted social distancing guidelines
But photos obtained by the Miami Herald showed Suarez breaking the same social distancing guidelines he’s enforced at Swan.
Patrons inside Swan on Saturday were reportedly lax over public health guidelines, with many parting in large groups and without face masks.
A photo reportedly taken June 11 showed Suarez at the restaurant with two men. Other photographs showed him seated for dinner with a at least four other people.
Miami-Dade County rules said only four people are allowed at a table at a time, unless patrons are from the same household.
Suarez’s office confirmed with The Miami Herald that he was at Swan that night for dinner, but was not part of a large crowd.