FROM: Honorable Daniella Levine Cava, Commissioner, District 8
TO: Honorable Carlos A. Gimenez Mayor
DATE: March 19, 2020
I want to thank you for updating the community on the County’s response to COVID-19 virus as the seriousness of this pandemic becomes increasingly apparent. Both the Florida Emergency Operations Center and FEMA have moved to a Level 1 activation due to the severity of the situation we’re confronting. The County remains at a Level 2. Wouldn’t the coordination of resources and information be more in line with the State and Federal emergency posture if we fully activated our EOC?
As our community continues to grapple with this growing emergency, there are a few matters that must be addressed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of County residents:
Access to Testing
• I had requested that we accelerate the pace of testing and that we deploy drive-through testing sites in Miami-Dade. I was relieved that Jessie Trice Community Health System had opened the County’s first drive-through testing site in South Miami-Dade at the Doris Isom Health Center. I would urge that more capacity for drive-through testing come online soon that can serve residents in North, Central and Western Miami-Dade.
Access to food for those in need
• I am glad for the great lengths that our County agencies and nonprofit partners have gone to in order to ensure that our seniors have continuing access to meals after the closure of senior centers. Unfortunately, for a large portion of our population, a regular day is a struggle to meet basic needs. During this emergency, many in our community who would have sought help from food pantries and other emergency meal centers also need help. I would ask that we get an update on efforts to provide meals for anyone in need
• County transit service currently remains available to residents who must travel to work or to stores for essential items. Because transit is being used for purposes essential to address the ongoing emergency, fares should be eliminated until the declaration of emergency is lifted. I urge you eliminate fares on Metrorail and Metrobus and clearly communicate to the public that transit use should be reserved for those who must get to work and those who need to travel to purchase essential supplies. • It is incumbent upon Miami-Dade County to ensure that transit trips are safe and clean. Therefore, I am requesting that you increase the frequency of sanitizing our rail cars and buses and provide hand sanitizer to transit patrons on county buses.
Shelter in Place
• Finally, thank you for your leadership in closing all but the essential stores. I believe a clear message must be sent that residents should shelter in place to abate the spread of the virus.