Miami-Dade

As restaurants, bars and other businesses started to reopen across South Florida they were quickly forced to shut back down as coronavirus cases began spiking again last month.

 

And for business owners, or anyone stepping out of their home, it's been tough to keep track of the latest safety rules and guidelines.

In a long-awaited and much anticipated decision, Miami-Dade County Public Schools will start the school year remotely and at a later date of Monday, Aug. 31.

Miami-Dade cities may sue for a larger share of a $474 million pool of federal COVID relief dollars that county commissioners have been racing to allocate to charities, businesses and residents across the county.

The administration of Mayor Carlos Gimenez this month slashed a planned $135 million allocation to cities to just $30 million, inflaming an already tense stand-off over how much of the federal CARES Act should be spent at the municipal level and how much should be distributed by Miami-Dade.

"It's not OK to take off your mask in front of me, thank you very much," declared Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez, in a tone that indicated he had no patience for anyone who might still be waffling on this widely recommended* and not-very-difficult approach to surviving the pandemic. "You might have the virus. As a matter of fact, might have it." 

Jackson Health Care System union officials and healthcare professionals will host a press conference today demanding that Governor Ron DeSantis issue a statewide mask mandate.  Doctors and nurses at Jackson Health Care are also launching a public awareness campaign to urge Miami-Dade residents and all Floridians to wear masks.

When COVID-19 roared back to life across Florida in mid-June after several weeks of relative quiet, Miami-Dade County quickly became a hot spot far exceeding other parts of the state, despite a more cautious reopening and a relatively early shutdown order.

JACKSONVILLE — Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he is asking the federal government for more medicine and will create designated drive-through lanes at testing sites in Broward and Miami-Dade counties for people with coronavirus symptoms to speed up results.

DeSantis also said Florida schools need to reopen as soon as possible.

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As the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 increases, Florida hospitals are asking the state to waive rules that require managed-care organizations to authorize care before it can be delivered to Medicaid beneficiaries.

In a phone call with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ top health care regulators this week, Dawn White, vice president of government and community relations for Baptist Health South Florida, asked whether the state would consider waiving Medicaid prior-authorization rules as Florida sees thousands of new COVID-19 cases each day.

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Miami-Dade County is again closing its restaurants to indoor dining and other indoor venues just weeks after they reopened because a spike in coronavirus cases.

County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Monday the closures will take effect Wednesday.

Two of Miami’s political leaders — and rivals — speculated about what caused the latest spike in coronavirus cases during national television appearances Sunday.

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As the number of COVID-19 cases are rising in Miami-Dade County, health officials are also warning residents of a mosquito-borne infection. 

The country’s top infectious disease specialist flagged Florida as a COVID-19 hot spot while speaking before a House committee on Tuesday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said he’s seeing a “disturbing spike” in infections across some parts of the country — and that the next few weeks in Florida will be critical.

Florida's two largest and hardest-hit counties are making plans to reopen from the coronavirus economic shutdown.

Climate change threatens to dramatically alter the coastal landscape of Miami-Dade in coming decades — one way or another.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to come to Miami-Dade County in February for the 2020 Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Federal officials, nonprofits and law enforcement prepare for an expected increase in human trafficking during these large-scale events.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools is opening a new front in the war against opioids, with a board member actively recruiting other urban school systems to join the district's pending lawsuit over the effects of addictive pain medications on students and staff.

A national education reform advocacy group that released a report last week arguing Florida’s urban school districts spend less on schools with a majority of nonwhite students has acknowledged the analysis was flawed and issued a new study with an apology.

Carlos Curbelo is considering a run for Miami-Dade Mayor in 2020. 

Miami native, son of Cuban exiles and former Republican Representative from Florida’s 26th District (2015-2018), Curbelo is no stranger to politics. In the November 2018 elections he went against Democrat Debbie Murcasel-Powell and executed one of the most expensive U.S. House races in the country. Mucarsel-Powell defeated Curbelo in a close and contested race.

More than 15,000 children are being held in migrant children shelters around the country. A recent ProPublica investigation found some kids are reporting sexual assaults in shelters, and their allegations are not always thoroughly investigated.

Orlando has committed to powering itself entirely with renewable energy by 2050. Miami-Dade County has a goal to plant 1 million trees by 2020 to achieve a 30 percent tree canopy cover. Satellite Beach, south of Cape Canaveral, is implementing aggressive plans to protect itself against climate change.

Florida teachers are eager to teach kids about sea-level rise, rising heat and other impacts of climate change, but many say it can be hard to find engaging and in-depth information in their textbooks or the state curriculum.

A workshop on Wednesday offered about 30 Florida educators ideas and resources for climate education.

Tens, hundreds or thousands of ideas are part of what’s needed to help South Florida respond to climate change.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is starting a three-year, $3 million study to help Miami-Dade County find ways to reduce risk from storms and sea-level rise.

On Thursday, the Corps and the county launched the effort by collecting ideas from local planners, researchers and concerned citizens. For four hours, staff members sat at tables in the Miami Rowing Club on Key Biscayne and facilitated conversations with interested members of the public.

Florida is hot and may be trending hotter: 2015, 2017 and the early part of 2018 all set temperature records.

A proposed extension of the 836 expressway in Miami-Dade County is headed to court.

On Monday, two environmental groups each filed lawsuits over plans to extend the expressway 14 miles south into the Kendall area.

 

Read more: Does Miami-Dade's 836 Expressway Proposal Fit Into The Regional Climate Plan?

 

A coalition of southeast Florida counties is leading the state in responding to vulnerabilities caused by climate change and sea-level rise, according to state environmental leaders.

On Thursday, officials and planners who represent Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties met at the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit to discuss progress on issues linked to climate change. Noah Valenstein, the secretary of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection, thanked the more than 300 people gathered.

A recent series of stories by the Miami New Times found that police in Miami-Dade County have made tens of thousands of arrests for small amounts of marijuana, even after a 2015 policy allowed them to issue civil citations for those same offenses.

Those optional arrests have at times led to life-changing consequences for the suspects.

President Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have been reluctant to acknowledge the link between climate change and some of Florida's current environmental challenges, like King Tide flooding, stronger hurricanes and rising temperatures.

Saltwater intrusion is just one of the risks facing South Florida's drinking water. 

The Biscayne Aquifer, a 4,000-mile sponge-like rock formation that filters and stores the region's clean groundwater, is also being polluted by sewage runoff and other contaminants. 

When it comes to sea-level rise, planners in South Florida typically use the benchmark of two feet in the next 40 years, but there’s a chance it could be less -- or more -- than that.

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