It’s Friday, August 6th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Miami-Dade will begin requiring weekly COVID-19 testing of county employees amid a spike in hospitalizations and cases, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Thursday.
Beginning Aug. 16, all non-union employees will be tested on a weekly basis. Employees who are vaccinated can opt out if they provide proof of their vaccination status, and exceptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, Levine Cava said. Levine Cava said the move is being made as the county's positivity rate has jumped to over 13%. She said as of Wednesday, nearly 1,500 people were hospitalized with Covid in the county, with about 88% of them unvaccinated.
No. 2 - Jeff Foster is like many teachers in South Florida, concerned about the start of the school year with COVID-19 cases on the rise.
Foster is a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and has a pre-existing heart condition. The concern now causing the state's Department of Education to hold an emergency meeting Friday. The agenda includes a proposal to allow parents to use vouchers to transfer their student from a public school, with a mask mandate, to a private school. It’s an idea Foster doesn’t think will work if passed. Click here for the reason why in a story from NBC 6 reporter Kim Wynne.
No. 3 - A resurgence of the coronavirus brought on by the Delta variant and the unvaccinated is stretching South Florida hospitals and their staff.
Broward Health, Jackson Health and Memorial Healthcare are three of the top ten largest public hospital systems in the country. Hospital leaders said staffing has become an issue quickly as the last week brought a surge of COVID-19 patients. Multiple nurses at Broward Health reached out to NBC 6, describing a worrisome situation. They said many are thinking about becoming travel nurses for the higher pay, leaving their local hospital. Click here for more in a story from NBC 6 investigator Phil Prazan in a story you’ll see Only on 6.
No. 4 - Carnival Cruise Line is updating its travel rules with a new pre-cruise requirement that all vaccinated guests be tested for COVID-19 and that all guests wear masks in certain indoor areas on ships.
The South Florida-based cruise line said the new temporary facial covering change will go into effect on all cruises that depart starting Saturday and will last through Oct. 31. Starting with all cruises leaving on Aug. 14, all fully vaccinated Carnival guests must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within three days of their embarkation, the company said. Testing will not be available in the terminal and all guests must come with their negative test results and proof of vaccination before boarding. The testing rule will also be in place through Oct. 31.
No. 5 - The distance from Miami Jackson Senior High School to Florida International University is 21 miles. For Terrence Nickerson, traveling that distance has been an epic journey.
Nickerson has gone from homeless to college graduate, thanks to his own perseverance and FIU’S unique Fostering Panther Pride program, which provides housing and support for homeless students. To say Nickerson took the hard road to a degree in organizational communications would be an understatement. To hear his amazing journey and his message to others in the same position, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Ari Odzer.
No. 6 - The U.S. women's basketball team is one win away from a seventh straight gold medal.
After a 79-59 win over Serbia in the semifinals, Team USA advances to face the winner of Japan and China in the final on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. ET. The team will look to tie the U.S. men's basketball team's record for most consecutive gold medals in a team sport. The U.S., which won its 54th straight game, held Serbia to 30 percent shooting in a strong defensive performance. Brittney Griner finished with 15 points and nine rebounds and Chelsea Gray added 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting to lead the United States.