It’s Monday, December 20th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - As several South Florida counties enter a ”high” risk level for COVID-19 transmission, residents are experiencing long testing lines, event cancelations and store closures.
With the holidays fast approaching and Christmas just days away, testing sites are experiencing exceptionally long lines. Tropical Park, a 24/7 PCR testing and vaccination site in Miami-Dade County, has seen long lines of people getting tested ahead of holiday gatherings over the last few days. Rapid testing is only available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the site, but if you take a rapid test, may also take a PCR test for a more accurate result. South Florida has also experienced many event cancelations due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. Sunday night’s annual Jingle Ball concert was canceled over COVID concerns. The concert venue, FLA Live Arena, announced the cancelation in a tweet writing in part that, “Due to the increased transmission of the new COVID-19 variant and to further minimize any potential risks.”
No. 2 - A Royal Caribbean ship returned to Miami on Saturday with 48 guests and crew members testing positive for COVID-19.
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The Symphony of the Seas ship set sail on Dec. 11 with 6,091 passengers, 95% of whom were fully vaccinated. Royal Caribbean said in a statement that all crew members are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and tested weekly. To sail aboard Symphony of the Seas, travelers over age 12 must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and test negative before boarding. Children not yet vaccinated must provide a negative PCR test prior to sailing and also test negative at the terminal prior to boarding. Of the 48 positive cases, 98% were fully vaccinated.
No. 3 - Authorities are investigating two separate incidents of migrants coming ashore Sunday morning in Fort Lauderdale.
Around 7 a.m. Sunday, U.S. Border Patrol agents and members of the Broward Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of A1A just south of Commercial Boulevard after receiving reports of migrants coming ashore. Later, at approximately 9:42 a.m., Fort Lauderdale police received a separate call about migrants coming ashore near 1010 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. According to Border Patrol, up to 30 people arrived illegally. So far authorities have detained nine migrants and taken them into federal custody.
No. 4 - Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday he cannot back his party’s signature $2 trillion social and environment bill, seemingly dealing a fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s leading domestic initiative heading into an election year when Democrats’ narrow hold on Congress was already in peril.
Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” that he always has made clear he had reservations about the bill and that now, after five-and-half months of discussions and negotiations, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation.” Manchin's choice of words seemed to crack the door open to continued talks with Biden and top congressional Democrats over reshaping the legislation. But the West Virginia senator all but said the bill would die unless it met his demands for a smaller, less sweeping package — something that would be hard for many Democrats in the narrowly divided Congress to accept.
No. 5 - In Miami Shores, debate is brewing over a neighborhood where a developer wants to put some businesses.
The main concern: Biscayne Bay pollution and quality of life. But project managers say their plan will actually benefit the village. The area in dispute is currently a bulldozed lot, surrounded by a fence near 105th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. It used to be a motel and is zoned for motel or multi-family use. Brad Smith, director of development for Stern Properties, said the project is in two phases. Stern Properties also wants to build a gas station and a 24-hour convenience store—which would be near a canal that leads into Biscayne Bay. Click here to find how why some neighbors have a problem with that in a report from NBC 6's Jamie Guirola.
No. 6 - Duke Johnson grew up in the shadow of Hard Rock Stadium, went to high school a couple miles away and played his college football on the Miami Dolphins' field. He'd waited a long time for a day like Sunday.
Johnson rushed for 107 yards and had a career-best two touchdowns, DeVante Parker caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa with 3:37 left and the Dolphins extended their winning streak to six games by topping the New York Jets 31-24 on Sunday. Johnson — basically the go-to back for Miami as a last resort because of virus-related issues throughout the week — helped the Dolphins (7-7) rally from an early 10-0 deficit. It was the first 100-yard game from a Miami rusher this season. The Dolphins became the second team in NFL history to get to 7-7 after starting a season 1-7. Miami swept the Jets for the second consecutive season, the first time that has happened since 1996 and 1997 and visit New Orleans on December 27th.