Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez expressed optimism Monday in the recent trends in coronavirus data in the county, but said the numbers must continue to drop even further before certain businesses can proceed with reopening.
Speaking during a video news conference Monday, Gimenez said the county has been seeing a steady drop in COVID-19 numbers and positivity rate in recent weeks.
"Our numbers are coming down. Three or four weeks ago, our positivity rate was way over 20%, it's now hovering around 12%," Gimenez said.
He added that hospitalizations, a large factor in showing progress in the coronavirus fight, were also coming down, with around 1,000 fewer patients now compared to three or four weeks ago.
"The trends are good, we just have to continue to be vigilant," Gimenez said.
Gimenez said he and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez spoke with White House coronavirus experts Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx last week. Fauci, Birx and local medical experts said while the numbers look promising, they're not where they need to be.
"They are advising to stay steady because those numbers still aren't where we want to be," Gimenez said. "They're heading in that direction but they're not where we want to be."
Gimenez said he's starting to look at reopening certain businesses, including restaurants and other gathering places, but the positivity rate would need to be steadily under 5%.
He also expressed concerns about a possible second surge in the fall.
"The lower that we can get our numbers right now, the lower that second surge will be," Gimenez said. "We want to be cautious, we understand and believe me I do, I want to open up the economy as quickly as anybody else, I know that people are hurting, we don't want to rush into something and then all the sudden back in the fall find ourselves in a situation that we're just coming out of right now.
"It's a tricky situation, it's a delicate one."