Here are some of the top stories from the past week from NBC 6 News:
Florida Breaks Daily COVID-19 Case Record With Over 31,700 in 1 Day
Florida reached its daily COVID-19 case record, recording more than 31,700 new infections as of the latest numbers released.
The 31,758 new cases reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pushed Florida's total to more than 3,864,288 since the pandemic began. This number also reflects the most cases reported by the state in a single day since Aug. 26, when Florida had a daily record of 27,668 new cases.
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Florida's cases have skyrocketed in recent days, averaging over 14,600 in the past seven days, after the 7-day average had been less than 2,000 cases as recently as Dec. 9.
Omicron Overtakes Delta as Miami-Dade's Dominant COVID-19 Variant
Omicron has overtaken the delta variant in Miami-Dade County as the dominant strain of the coronavirus in a matter of weeks, according to genomic surveillance data.
Genetic sequencing of the virus showed omicron grew from a tiny fraction of hundreds of samples taken the first week of December to nearly three of every four samples taken last week.
The variant is also sweeping the nation, accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials said. The county is also seeing a spike in positive COVID-19 cases, which stand at 10% after dropping to about 1% a month ago, according to data.
‘Christmas Is In Limbo': COVID-19 Concerns Strain Holiday Gatherings Across South Florida
For some, the COVID-19 wave is putting holiday gatherings in limbo.
When Christmas Eve was less than 72 hours away across South Florida, many families are holding their breath to see if they’ll be able to be with their loved ones for the holidays.
“The first time he was knocked out,” said Claudia Curiel, whose husband tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time this year. He’s fully vaccinated, but not boosted — and is only experiencing mild symptoms.
He's not the only one. Click here for more in a report from NBC 6's Cristian Benavides.
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Universal Orlando to Require Masks at All Attractions, Indoor Locations
A Florida theme park has updated its mask policy amid growing COVID-19 concerns and the emerging omicron variant.
Starting Friday, Universal Orlando Resort will require all guests to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status, at all public indoor locations, the company announced Wednesday.
The mask mandate will be in effect at all Universal Orlando restaurants, shops, indoor hotel public areas, and all attractions "from the moment guests enter the queue to when they exit the experience," a news release said.
All guests will be expected to bring a face covering with them for the duration of their visit. Universal Orlando is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of WTVJ-TV / NBC 6.
Military Academy Candidate Struggles with Nomination After Rep. Hastings' Death
A University of Miami student and ROTC member is on his way to West Point after NBC 6 Investigators reported on the tough spot similar candidates were in following the death of Rep. Alcee Hastings.
Each member of Congress gets to make ten nominations to the military academies from their local district. That was not possible for candidates like Justin Torres after Hastings passed away earlier this year.
Governor DeSantis set the special election for his replacement for January 11. The deadline to apply to the military academies is January 31, but the interview and selection process happens months before that, according to military academy staff.
For more on how that impacted the current UM student and others, click here for the story from NBC 6 investigator Phil Prazan.
Hollywood Police Looking for Child Who Sent Sweet Holiday Card
Officers at the Hollywood Police Department are used to looking for people behind crimes, but now they are looking for a child who sent them a touching holiday card.
"We’re hoping we can track him down, it was such a sweet sweet gesture. Especially during the holidays, it was just like 'oh gosh, what can we do?'" said Deanna Bettineschi, a spokesperson for the department.
Hollywood Police want to thank William Hernandez, the child who sent them the holiday card in the mail on Monday. Without an address, the department took to social media to try to find William. They instantly received messages that they hope could lead them to him.