It’s Wednesday, December 2nd – and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Miami Beach is launching a new accelerated COVID-19 contact tracing program to help hotels, restaurants and other businesses keep employees and patrons safe.
The "Race to Trace" initiative will provide businesses with a dedicated strike team of seasoned contact tracers from the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, city officials said. The aim of the program is to alleviate the burden that business owners and managers face by quickly responding to COVID-19 issues as they arise. Miami Beach has had more than 5,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases dating back to March, according to the Florida Department of Health.
No. 2 - Florida Power and Light resumed disconnections on October 1st, seven months after halting them due to Covid-19 - leaving thousands of residents without power.
FPL's Covid-19 customer impact data report shows more than 72,000 residential accounts were disconnected from service in October. During the pandemic, the power company made payment arrangements with more than 1 million customers. Non-profit organizations like Catalyst Miami are hearing from many residents struggling to pay utility bills and other bills. To hear how they are trying to help, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Laura Rodriguez.
No. 3 - Florida surpassed one million confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, becoming the third state to reach that total.
With 8,847 new COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday, Florida now has 1,008,166, according to the state's dashboard. Florida joins Texas and California as the only states to reach one million cases since the pandemic began. With 82 more virus-related deaths among Florida residents, the total rose to 18,679 Tuesday. Another 237 non-resident deaths have been confirmed in the state to-date. Most of the newly confirmed deaths occurred days or weeks earlier. The positivity rate for new cases in the state was 8.69% in Tuesday's report, the second straight day it was over 8%.
No. 4 - Breaking overnight, The U.K. on Wednesday authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use, marking another step in the global battle against the pandemic.
The vaccine will now be rolled out in the country next week, with elderly people in care homes and medical workers first in line. The U.K. government is reportedly the first in the world to formally approve the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for widespread use, and it means Britain will be one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population. Pfizer and BioNTech announced in July an agreement with the U.K. to supply 30 million doses of its mRNA-based vaccine, formally known as "BNT162b2," once authorized for emergency use. That agreement was increased to 40 million doses in early October. As a two-dose vaccine, the U.K. will have enough doses to vaccinate around a third of its 66 million population.
No. 5 - A woman stands ready to open a facility to help military veterans with PTSD and a South Florida city says it wants to help too, yet there’s no opening date in sight.
The City of Margate said it's because of a zoning problem, but Miryam Jimenez said the real trouble is with residents who don’t like the idea. Jimenez wants to open a 34-bed facility in Margate. She said she has invested $3.5 million in renovations to the building. The building is in an area with homes and apartments nearby. Jimenez thinks she’s met the zoning requirements, but last month she said she was rejected for the 3rd time. To hear what both sides of the debate are saying, click here for the story from NBC 6 investigator Willard Shepard you’ll see Only on 6.
No. 6 - Weatherwise, parts of South Florida are waking up to their coldest temperatures since February with those numbers warming up by the afternoon. Keep your NBC 6 app handy for push alerts on any severe weather as well as First Alert Doppler 6000.