Mayor Suarez tests positive for COVID-19

by Kerrie Kennedy

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is among the current 149 coronavirus cases in Florida and one of the first elected officials to test positive in the U.S. The mayor announced Friday — four days after attending a local event with a Brazilian government official who later tested positive for the virus — that he too had tested positive for COVID-19.

“I feel completely healthy and strong. However, I am doing the responsible thing by working with the county’s health department to take every precaution to ensure that not only my family is healthy, but everyone I have come in contact with is healthy as well,” Suarez said in a statement.

Suarez said that any person whom he may have touched or “sneezed or coughed near” since Monday should self-isolate for 14 days.

The 42-year-old mayor wasn’t the only politician who interacted with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who tested positive for the illness after returning to Brazil. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez, Sen. Rick Scott and President Donald Trump were all in the same room with Bolsonaro.

Both Gimenez and President Trump have tested negative and Sen. Scott is on self-quarantine.

“After speaking with medical personnel, I will continue to follow Department of Health protocol and remain isolated while I lead our government remotely,” Suarez went on to say. “The city will continue to function as usual under our comprehensive preparedness plan to ensure operational continuity.”

For now, all public municipal meetings in Miami are cancelled until April 1, and all employees and visitors are being screened for symptoms of COVID-19 before being allowed entry into city buildings. The city is partnering with the Miami-Dade County Community Action & Human Services Department to deliver meals to seniors who might normally gather at local senior centers for communal dining.

All businesses and establishments within the city of Miami must reduce their maximum occupancy loads to 50% of their authorized maximum and all non-essential businesses and establishments — namely bars, restaurants and entertainment establishments — must close at 11 PM daily.

While Suarez reported feeling well, aside from a few slight aches and symptoms that felt like a cold, he remained concerned about people who came into contact with him as well as other Miami residents who are ill.

“If you suspect you have been in contact with anyone who is sick or are exhibiting any symptoms, like fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please call the County Department of Health,” Suarez said.  “Our residents’ health and wellness continues to be my absolute priority.”

To contact the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, call 305-324-2400

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