Here’s what to know in South Florida on July 17

We’re keeping track of the latest news regarding the coronavirus in South Florida and around the state. Check back for updates throughout the day.

COVID-19 hits two of Miami-Dade’s largest police departments as enforcement ramps up

1:15 p.m.: The rapid recent rise in coronavirus infections in South Florida has begun to put a dent in some South Florida police departments.

In the past few weeks Miami and Miami Beach have lost more than 10% of their sworn forces, with officers either testing positive for the quickly-spreading virus, or out awaiting a test result because they were in close proximity to someone who contracted the disease.

As of Thursday in Miami, that meant 140 of its more than 1,300 police officers were at home recuperating or nervously waiting to find out if they’d been infected. For Miami Beach, 41 of its 400-person force are at home.

But it comes at a particularly sensitive time as both cities have plans to increase patrols to enforce tougher orders with the virus raging through the region.

Read the full story here.

Another restaurant shuts for good amid the COVID-19 pandemic

California Pizza Kitchen announced to its dine rewards members that it has closed its Coral Gables Miracle Mile location as of July 17, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic and lease challenges.
California Pizza Kitchen announced to its dine rewards members that it has closed its Coral Gables Miracle Mile location as of July 17, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic and lease challenges.

11:55 a.m.: Miami-Dade’s only California Pizza Kitchen, long a fixture on Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile across the street from Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, has closed for good.

According to an e-mail sent to its dine rewards members, the chain has closed the location citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in South Florida and “related lease challenges with our landlords.”

The closest CPK location, then, is the one in Pembroke Lakes Mall in Broward County’s Pembroke Pines.

Florida adds more than 100 deaths for the fourth consecutive day

Motorist line up at Hard Rock Stadium for COVID-19 testing on Monday, July 13, 2020.
Motorist line up at Hard Rock Stadium for COVID-19 testing on Monday, July 13, 2020.

11:20 a.m.: Florida’s Department of Health on Friday confirmed 11,466 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 327,241. There were also 128 new Florida resident deaths announced, bringing the statewide resident death toll to 4,805.

Read the story here.

Some Floridians worry contact tracing calls are scams. State urges you to respond

10:30 a.m.: Elysee Bernstein received a call July 10 from someone claiming to work for the Florida Department of Health, telling her she had tested positive for COVID-19.

She was confused since she had already received a negative result online from the Lincoln Park testing center she visited in Fort Lauderdale. The caller asked Bernstein to provide her Social Security number, address, name and phone number. She feared it was a scam and immediately hung up.

Bernstein and many other Floridians are worried about responding to contact tracing calls. State and local a governments have repeatedly urged people to answer contact tracer questions, which they say are a major key to help control the surging spread of COVID-19. But they also acknowledge there could be scammers looking to exploit a public health crisis. The Attorney General’s Office is even looking into some complaints.

Read the full story here.

COVID-19 testing trucks allow more testing in Miami Beach

10 a.m.: Aardvark Mobile Tours adapted its resources to create Aardvark Mobile Health testing trucks. One is on the market in Miami Beach and tests about 200 people per day.

The first 30 minutes of testing in Miami Beach has been for first responders, and the rest of the time is walk-up.

The truck’s location is 2101 Collins Ave. through July 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will then move to North Miami Beach and continue making its rounds throughout the islands.

Read the full story here.

University of Miami is testing coronavirus vaccines — and it’s looking for volunteers

8:50 a.m.: The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is looking for volunteers in South Florida who are willing to roll up their sleeves and be part of a nationwide study to test potential COVID-19 vaccines.

The university’s medicine school is a major research center for infectious diseases, primarily HIV and AIDS, and was selected to be part of a study led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases COVID-19 Prevention Network to look into possible novel coronavirus vaccines.

Infectious disease expert and associate professor of clinical medicine Dr. Susanne Doblecki-Lewis will be leading UM’s research team during the trials, alongside co-investigator Dr. Maria Alcaide.

Read the full story here.

Florida’s House Democrats demand stay-at-home orders, mandatory masks statewide

8:35 a.m.: Nearly all of Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation is calling for targeted stay-at-home orders and a statewide mask order as the state’s coronavirus death toll breaks records, reports the Miami Herald’s Washington correspondent Alex Daugherty.

In a letter sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday and obtained by the Miami Herald, 12 of Florida’s 13 Democrats in the House of Representatives urged the governor “to finally take strong action to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in Florida.”

The letter is the latest — and most substantial — call from public officials to impose measures that would close parts of Florida’s economy to stop the spread of COVID-19. Miami-Dade County has rolled back portions of its reopening and implemented a mask order but Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has so far resisted calls for a stay-at-home order in the state’s largest coronavirus hotspot.

Read the full story here.

COVID-19 races through Miami’s federal prison

Federal Correctional Institution is located west of Miami.
Federal Correctional Institution is located west of Miami.

8:25 a.m.: Miami’s Federal Correctional Institution went from prison to a petri dish in the span of a couple of weeks.

Roughly a week ago, FCI had a handful of confirmed infections — not good but better than many prison compounds. Thursday, according to the Bureau of Prisons website, the number had leaped to 93, a colony of vomiting, headachy coughing captives.

Kareen Troitino, the FCI Miami corrections officer union president, said COVID-19 has become a serious problem at the facility since July 1.

Read the full story here.


8:20 a.m.: Here are the coronavirus headlines to catch you up on what’s happening around South Florida and the state as Friday begins.

Jackson Health bears brunt of HHS’ funding error. Make Miami hospital whole — now| Editorial.

How CEOs are dealing with a renewed surge in COVID-19.

‘Please add a croqueta to my steak sandwich’: Miami gets weird on Uber Eats.

Publix requiring customers to wear masks at all stores as coronavirus pandemic continues.

Florida sees another coronavirus fatality record of 156 as nearly 14,000 new cases added.

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