Miami mayor ‘cracking down’ on COVID violations as possible vaccine rollout nears – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

MIAMI (WSVN) – City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said he has been taking aggressive action to shut down businesses found to be in violation of safety guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, days before a Food and Drug Administration hearing that could lead to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Speaking with reporters Monday afternoon, Suarez said their efforts have led to multiple closures.

“We have been cracking down, the last two weeks in particular,” he said. “We shut down a significant amount of places … Right now, what we’re focusing on is mass squaring and social distancing within the establishments, and if we see flagrant violations of both, we’re shutting them down.”

The mayor’s tough talk comes as leaders across South Florida struggle to stop another surge of COVID-19.

“We were out in force this weekend, and I know we shut down some major parties that were sort of underground parties, particularly in the Wynwood area and the Little Havana area and, I think, one in the Brickell area,” he said.

The crackdown comes as a major breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19 could be just days away.

The FDA is set to review data from Pfizer’s clinical trials on Thursday. If they give the go ahead for emergency approval, officials said, the first doses could be administered in South Florida by next week.

“What we’ve said is, within 24 hours of FDA greenlighting with authorization, we’ll ship to all of the states and territories that we work with, and within hours they can be vaccinating,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Memorial Regional Hospital and Jackson Memorial Hospital will be among the first to receive the vaccine once it’s ready, and officials said it can’t come fast enough.

7Skyforce hovered above a long line of cars at a local testing site on Monday, as COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the Sunshine State.

The Florida Department of Health on Monday reported 7,711 new coronavirus cases statewide, with Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties making up more than a third of the new infections.

“Of course, Florida, we want to get as much vaccine for our citizens as possible,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

With approval of a COVID-19 vaccine possibly days away, DeSantis on Sunday outlined the plans in place to get the vaccine to those who need it the most.

Once it’s available, the first doses will go to:

  • residents of long-term care facilities
  • high-risk front-line healthcare workers
  • anyone 65 and older and/or those with significant underlying health conditions

“Distributing a vaccine across a large and diverse state is a big challenge, but this is a major priority for the State of Florida,” said DeSantis.

It’s looking like a very happy holiday for a South Florida healthcare worker and her family.

Rosa Felipe, a technician with 15 years at JMH under her belt, is set to be released from the hospital on Tuesday.

The 41-year-old contracted the virus back in March and has spent the last nine months battling the virus, including two months in the intensive care unit.

While the mother of two is healthy enough to go home, doctors said, she still has a long road ahead of her.

Felipe has spent the last six months re-learning how to walk and dress herself, and officials said she may lose part of her fingers due to the severe lack of oxygen.

“What you see is what you get. She’s very outspoken, loving, she’s caring,” said her sister, Elizabeth Taveras Murray. “There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for you.”

Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.

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