MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) – A week after the Thanksgiving holiday, the lines at COVID-19 testing sites across South Florida remain long and hospitals are at the brink of capacity.
Health experts are hoping travel numbers for the holiday season are lower than what was recorded for the Thanksgiving weekend.
They advise members of the public the best way to stay safe and protect others is to stay home this year.
“The reality is, December and January and February are going to be a rough time,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield.
He predicts the most difficult time in the public health history of the country is just ahead.
Dr. Redfield said the U.S. could be close to 450,000 COVID-19 related deaths by February.
The CDC is stressing stay at home warnings weeks before Christmas and the New Year holiday.
“Because now, one of the major drivers of transmission is not the public square, it’s actually the home gatherings,” said Dr. Redfield.
The latest warning comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationwide.
7SkyForce HD hovered over the Hard Rock Stadium testing site on Thursday morning where a long line of vehicles could be seen waiting to get inside.
Health experts said this is the time of the week that is best to get tested if you believe you were exposed to the virus during any Thanksgiving travel or gatherings.
The Agency for Health Care Administration in Florida recorded 23.33% of adult ICU beds available in Broward County and 19.31% are available in Miami-Dade County.
Hospitals stress they can create additional space with their surge plans.
On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health reported 2,293 new COVID-19 cases in Miami-Dade with 21 additional deaths.
In Broward County, 1,035 new COVID-19 cases were reported with 9 additional deaths. Monroe County reported 34 additional cases with no additional deaths.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave an update on the upcoming vaccine distribution in the state stating progress is being made on FDA approval for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
“We know we will not, nor will any state, have enough to vaccinate everyone right off the bat so we’ve had to set priorities,” he said.
The priority groups for the initial vaccine distribution include residents of long-term care facilities, high-risk frontline healthcare workers and individuals 65 and older and/or those who have significant comorbidities.
DeSantis also said although the state will work to make the vaccine available and encourage it, they will not mandate it.
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