Of the 1,682 cases of COVID-19 in Florida reported by the state on Wednesday, the number of cases in Miami Lakes – two – remained the same for people who have the highly contagious respiratory virus.
Cases in Hialeah jumped from 22 on Tuesday to 34, according to the daily report from the Florida Divison of Emergency Management.
The report doesn’t further describe the cases or where the patients may be. So far, 22 people in the state have died from the virus.
During a Facebook video message on Wednesday, Town Manager Edward Pidermann said the news that two residents were ill "caused quite a stir. From our perspective, we were expecting it. There is not a need for panic."
Pidermann said it was just a matter of time for the virus to show up in town, since every community nearby already had cases.
Also Wednesday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said police would begin arresting people who did not comply with his emergency declaration that included bans of large gatherings whether in parks, outside restaurants or at other places.
"Six feet between people is not a suggestion, it's the rule of law," Gimenez said Wednesday, also on Facebook. "It's the only way to control the spread of COVID-19."
Gimenez said "healthy carriers are the greatest threat to our communities because they can infect people without even knowing it. So everybody, keep your distance."
During a March 23 Facebook video message, Pidermann and Mayor Manny Cid had also emphasized that residents should practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Pidermann said he received reports of large gatherings over the weekend of March 21-22 of people around common areas inside homeowner associations.
“Don’t congregate,” Pidermann said in the Facebook chat. “It’s not OK for 20 or 30 people to congregate. Don’t hang out in the pools or BBQ areas.”
As for Tuesday’s news about two people in town coping with the respiratory virus, Pidermann said the town has no immediate plans to change any policies he has enacted this month, including on March 12 when he declared a state of emergency.
After Gimenez closed county parks on March 19, Pidermann also banned the public from using green spaces in Miami Lakes. Residents have complained to town hall that people were still in the parks and Pidermann said Wednesday they should call the non-emergency number for police: 305-476-5423.
Those who have business with the town were asked to conduct it by email and by telephone rather than visiting town hall.
“We are not planning any different measures than those that we’ve taken to date,” Pidermann said Tuesday. “We do want to remind our residents that we are responsible for adhering to social distancing and continue personal measures like proper handwashing.
“If you are sick, please stay home,” Pidermann said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report from Tuesday was unchanged: there were 44,183 cases in the country, with 544 deaths, the CDC said on its website.
To follow the state’s reports on the virus and its progression in Florida, go to https://floridadisaster.org/covid19.