Coronavirus update: No classrooms in Miami, Hard Rock testing increases and business-opening talk

We approach the end of another week battling the coronavirus pandemic. Today, April 16, the virus has taken the lives of more than 129,000 people. North Dakota has reported the highest daily increase in cases and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that there will be no concerts or sports events till next year.

Florida is just 500 cases away from hitting 23,000 infected individuals in the state. 2% of Miami-Dade County’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have died and Palm Beach County has added another 4 deaths.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez released a statement on Wednesday saying that he had met with health experts from the Florida Department of Equal Opportunity, Jackson Health System and the University of Miami. Gimenez said all parties agreed it is important for people to go outside and exercise, although they do not plan on resuming outdoor games or gatherings until the conditions are right, based on medical recommendations.

“We will examine what statistical metrics must be met before resuming any activities,” Gimenez said. “And will consider what portion of the restrictions to keep in place, depending on conditions.”

Gimenez also shared the COVID-19 daily hospital report on Wednesday which states that the county has 573 intensive care beds and 855 ventilators, with 135 on standby. The report also noted that there are 119 new COVID-19 patients and 223 have been discharged.

Miami-Dade County Animal Services announced on Wednesday that in order to provide relief for pet owners, it will host a drive-thru food bank on Friday, April 17. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be located at the Pet Adoption and Protection Center at 3599 NW 79th Ave. in Doral. They are asking all residents who wish to attend to adhere to social distancing guidelines and wear masks or facial coverings.

Local 10 reported on Wednesday that another Winter Party Festival attendee died due to complications of COVID-19. Thomas Carr, 67, was a classical pianist and a real estate agent. His death increases the event’s death total to three.

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho shared on Wednesday morning that students are unlikely to return to their classrooms for the remainder of the academic year. The last day of school for students is June 3. Carvalho added that having students return for 26 to 33 days would be imprudent.

Broward County officials released a statement late Tuesday evening announcing that all cancellations of events at parks, libraries and other county facilities will be extended till May 15. The statement also mentioned that cruise ships that are scheduled to arrive at Port Everglades do not have passengers. The only cruise ships coming into the port will be picking up fuel and supplies or sending crew members home.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management announced on Wednesday that the Hard Rock testing site will now be able to test approximately 750 people per day. The site ran out of test kits about two hours after opening on Monday and Tuesday following the expansion of age requirements.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday at a press conference that he is assembling a task force to oversee the reopening of the state. It will be made up of elected officials as well as superiors in other fields. DeSantis also touched on the state’s remote learning status and confirmed that he is looking into extending it for the remainder of the school year but has not reached a decision as of yet.

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Mickaella Mori wrote the article and Monica Lebro produced the video

Mickaella is a senior at FIU, currently majoring in Journalism and looking forward to a Spring 2020 graduation. She was born in New Jersey but moved to Miami at the age of 7. Missing the fall foliage, winter snow and 24/7 deli’s, she plans to move back up north to New York after graduation and further enhance her career.

Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Monica is working on her broadcast journalism bachelor's degree. She loves to write and is passionate about sports, the art of interviewing and strives to become an on-air sports talent. She produces digital content and is a social media manager.