It’s Tuesday, August 17th – and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - After a long meeting with his Public Health and Medical Expert Task Force, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced that he is “accepting” the task force’s recommendations, including the recommendation that masks be required in school.
However, Carvalho said he believes it is important for the nine elected school board members "to have a voice on this matter.” The task force, which is made up of highly recognized medical and public health experts, were tasked with come up with COVID-19 protocol recommendations for the district. In the past, Carvalho has made it very clear that he will make these decisions guided by this group of experts and the science and not by political pressure. The superintendent said the board wants to weigh in at its meeting on Wednesday.
No. 2 - Hospitals in South Florida still making room for hundreds of COVID-19 positive patients per day.
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Dr. Joshua Lenchus, interim Chief Medical Officer at Broward Health, said the rate of the rise in cases has slowed, but he is fearing what could happen next, come fall. Memorial West hit an all-time high with 692 hospitalized patients. Jackson Health treating 414 and Broward Health at 381 patients. Kevin Warshel was not suffering from COVID-19 when he spent two days at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines last week. Hospital staff are caring for non-COVID patients by setting up make-shift facilities in conference rooms, cafeterias, auditoriums and classrooms - wherever there is space. Click here for a look at the situation some are calling “demoralizing” in a story from NBC 6 reporter Marissa Bagg.
No. 3 - South Florida‘s law enforcement community is mourning the loss of two of its own, both dying from COVID-19.
On Saturday, Fort Lauderdale Police announced Jennifer Sepot died from complications related to the virus. She joined the department in 2017 and was assigned to road patrol. The Florida Highway Patrol is also dealing with a COVID-related loss. Trooper Lazaro Febles, an 11-year veteran died, the department announced on Twitter Saturday. Most police departments in South Florida are not requiring officers get a COVID-19 vaccine. Regardless, many police brass are strongly encouraging their officers to get the shot. Click here for that story from NBC 6 reporter Steve Litz.
No. 4 - U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country.
Federal health officials have been actively looking at whether extra shots for the vaccinated would be needed as early as this fall, reviewing case numbers in the U.S. as well as the situation in other countries such as Israel, where preliminary studies suggest the vaccine’s protection against serious illness dropped among those vaccinated in January. An announcement on the U.S. booster recommendation was expected as soon as this week, two people familiar with the matter told NBC News. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
No. 5 - A man told NBC 6 that he's heading to Haiti because he's worried about the people of the island.
After the news of the 7.2 earthquake that rocked Haiti on Saturday, the man who didn’t want to be identified says he’s flying out there to make sure his family is OK. On Monday, many were at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport catching flights to head back to Haiti. Lines could be seen as soon as you walked into the terminal. Click here to find out why some are making the journey to help in a report from NBC 6’s Marcien Joseph.
No. 6 - Several organizations in South Florida are donating food, supplies and aid to Haiti as the country reels from the devastating effects of a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake and braces for an impending tropical storm.
To see the list for local and state organizations that are accepting donations to help the ravaged island, as well as information about how you can donate, click on this link. NBC 6 will update the list with new organizations are locations offering to accept donations to help after the devastation.