South Florida COVID-19 Update — April 28, 2020

Since the novel coronavirus hit Florida in early March, residents and governments have been trying to balance fighting the spread with keeping the economy running. It’s been a stressful time for everyone in our state, made even worse by our continuing inability to accurately test, track, and trace COVID-19 to the degree needed to successfully contain it.

At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we’re dedicated to ensuring that our community has trustworthy information and resources to help during this emergency. We will continue to provide weekly updates on the evolving situation to help you make informed decisions.

Our South Florida personal injury lawyer team will be on call during the outbreak if you have any questions about a recent injury, an ongoing claim, or your current personal injury case. Contact us by calling (800) 431-684 or using the contact information for an office near you. Schedule a free, no-obligation case review with us today.

Here are some of the top stories regarding COVID-19 in South Florida:

DeSANTIS EYES REOPENING FLORIDA IN MAY AS DEATHS PASS 1,000

The stay-at-home order put in place April 1 is set to run out at the end of the month, and Gov. Ron DeSantis looks to “reopen” the state May 1st. To that end, a task force has been working on a way to do so while reducing the impact of COVID-19 on state residents. As of April 24, Florida has seen over 29,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 1,000 deaths.

Of those deaths, 571 have been in South Florida. One issue complicating matters is that neither the state nor the federal government has kept a comprehensive track of cases linked to the cruise ship industry.

“We’re not doing a great job of counting,” said Dr. Roderick King of the Florida Institute for Health Innovation. “When it comes to a pandemic, it’s all about the counting.” 

According to a database kept by The Miami Herald, 2,592 cases, including 65 deaths, can be tracked to 54 ships from various companies.

Florida saw a number of its beaches reopened April 18-19, packing them from Jacksonville to Miami. Previously, a few beaches had been opened for activities like exercising and surfing, but new rules will allow for sunbathing, sitting in the sun, and other activities. Nevertheless, beachgoers at Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach, for example, are required to maintain social distancing, avoid activities that require large groups, and keep groups to no more than five people.

Returning beachgoers have received widespread criticism across the country, but DeSantis and some mayors defended the residents. Despite appearances spread on social media, state and local officials maintain residents have been following “social distancing” rules as well as limitations on time, allowed activities, etc.

“There were a number of still photos that made it look like we were overcrowded and there was no distancing, which was not accurate,” Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry said.

Sources: The Miami Herald, WFOR-TV (Miami), WPLG Local 10 (Miami), Slate

MOST FLORIDIANS SUPPORT MAINTAINING STAY-AT-HOME ORDERS

Across the country, most polls show support for maintaining stay-at-home orders rather than reopening the economy, and Florida is no different. A poll from Quinnipiac University released April 22 found that 72% of Floridians do NOT wish to reopen the state until better testing practices are established. This mirrors the general feeling of most Americans across party lines with 80% seeing stay-at-home measures in a positive light. This is despite protests that have popped up around the country demanding businesses reopen.

Most medical experts agree that rushing into reopening could lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist at Florida International University, strongly emphasized the importance of testing as many COVID-19 infectees could be asymptomatic, showing no signs of illness.

“If you open up too soon, the economic consequences will be worse,” Dr. Marty said.

Miami Beach especially has to weigh the pros and cons of reopening as tourism makes up such a large portion of its income. While many beaches are opening and the state government is encouraging more, most of the cities’ mayors are taking a cautious approach.

“We will be conservative,” Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez said about lifting the city’s emergency orders

Sources: The Orlando Sun-Sentinel, ibid, Quinnipiac University Poll, WPLG Local 10 (Miami), City of Miami

MIAMI-DADE REOPENING SELECT PARKS, MARINAS, AND GOLF COURSES ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29

The Miami-Dade municipal government has agreed to a limited reopening of select marinas, parks, and golf courses. These facilities will open alongside a set of rules intended to limit the chances of close encounters between members of the public. However, many municipal parks in the Miami metro area will remain closed for the time being. Individual municipalities are free to set their own rules regarding which businesses and facilities are permitted to reopen.

Anyone using local facilities is urged to continue following social distancing and sanitation guidelines to reduce the risk of a resurgent spread of the novel coronavirus.

Source: Miami Herald

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS RISE IN SOUTH FLORIDA

Despite the generally favorable view of continuing the stay-at-home measures, it is having a measurable adverse effect on the state’s economy. Over 680,000 jobless claims have been verified in the Sunshine State in the past month, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

After a rocky start which saw many claimants unable to file, the state has processed 210,073 claims and paid out 116,830. Miami-Dade numbers exceed 67,000 workers with 52,000 in Broward County. Statewide numbers show over 115,000 filed from the accommodation and foodservice industry.

As of April 21, the state’s unemployment rate sits at 4.3%. The next count will be in late May.

Sources: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, The Miami Herald

 

NEED HELP? CALL EXPERIENCED SOUTH FLORIDA INJURY ATTORNEYS IF YOU ARE HURT OR HAVE LEGAL QUESTIONS

Steinger, Greene & Feiner will continue operations during the outbreak to serve our communities. If you have recently been injured or have an ongoing injury case, call us at (800) 431-6481. We can provide you with guidance on your legal options for seeking the maximum compensation available.

We know that during this outbreak household budgets are stretched thin and quality health care comes with long wait times. We want to be there to help you and your family obtain compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and more if you are hurt or on the mend.

Speak to a knowledgeable South Florida personal injury attorney near you by calling (800) 431-6841 or contacting us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.