The rate of people infected with coronavirus in Miami-Dade could be more than 16 times higher than what has been found through testing, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Friday.
The findings are from the initial results of a random coronavirus sample study being conducted by the county in partnership with the University of Miami.
At a news conference Friday, Gimenez said that about 1,400 people were tested in the first two weeks of the study, and about 6 percent of participants tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, for an average of 165,000 residents out of the county's 2.75 million residents.
"What we're finding out is something we've frankly known all along. There are a lot of asymptomatic cases out there where people are carrying the virus but are not experiencing any symptoms," Gimenez said.
Gimenez said that based on the study, the actual number of infections is potentially 16 1/2 times the number of those captured through testing sites and hospitals. As of Friday, Miami-Dade had 10,701 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported by the Florida Department of Health.
It's possible the amount of infection could be from 4.4 percent to 7.9 percent of the county's population, with any where from 123,000 to 221,000 residents infected, Gimenez said.
Of the people who tested positive for the antibodies, more than half had no symptoms in the 7 to 14 days before screening, the study found.
The tests have been conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine in collaboration with a local disaster recovery firm.