This post will be updated today, Thursday, May 21, with the latest information on COVID-19 in South Florida.
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Statewide Coronavirus Cases Jump By More Than 1,200, Surpass 48,000
Updated Thursday at 12:05 p.m.
Florida surpassed 48,000 positive cases of COVID-19 as Florida’s Department of Health confirmed an additional 1,204 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. Florida has a total of 48,675 confirmed positive cases, according to the state's health department.
Thursday's update also included the announcement of 48 new deaths, increasing the statewide number to 2,144. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties make up 1,196 of those reported deaths. Monroe County has reported three deaths due to COVID-19.
Miami-Dade To Launch Its Contact Tracing Effort, Not Relying On State's
Updated Thursday at 7 a.m.
Miami-Dade County is taking contact tracing efforts into its own hands, deploying hundreds of people for a countywide effort to trace the close contacts of people infected with COVID-19.
The state’s program only has about 200 contact tracers working in Miami-Dade, which leads the state in the number of confirmed cases and deaths.
As of Wednesday, more than 16,000 people in the county have tested positive for COVID-19 and 589 people have died due to complications with the virus.
“Right now, the state has a total of 1,000 contract tracers statewide. We’re going to have 800 to 1,000 right here in Miami-Dade,” Gimenez told county commissioners this week, according to the Miami Herald. “We’re going to put that together. We’re trying to work with the state on this, but we may have to do some of this on our own. I believe the state understands that.”
Contact tracers would interview those who are infected in an effort to get their close contacts tested as well.
The Miami office of the state’s health department has executed some level of contact tracing before to slow the spread of tuberculosis, dengue fever and measles. The county doesn’t have it’s own office or health department, making this effort for COVID-19 contact tracing unprecedented.
“We are going to focus on vulnerable populations in the community,” Jaques Bentolila, the county administrator chosen to launch the initiative, told the Miami Herald. “Our long-term-care facilities is a major area that the mayor is very concerned about.”
Details on when the program would begin or how much it would cost have not been made available.
-Leslie Ovalle / WLRN News