Miami Herald: They’re living in a COVID-19 hot spot. A ‘rapid-response team’ just visited the area

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins and her staff handed out supplies to residents in Little Havana most severely affected by rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.

A member of Higgins’ team, who represents District 5, said Saturday’s effort was coordinated over two days.

“We need these people to know they live in a hot spot,” Higgins said. “They have to be careful. We cannot let our guard down. Case numbers are going up.”

Higgins’ team joined with Miami state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez and members of his staff, as well as with volunteers from the area, to create a “rapid response team.”

Higgins said volunteers put together bags containing information in English and Spanish, as well as five reusable masks, to give out to 2,000 homes. Volunteers gathered at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium on West Flagler Street for assembly and disbursement.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was in Little Havana on Friday, also handing out free masks. Suarez and other city employees handed out masks near Marlins Park on the corner of Northwest 7th Street and 17th Court, with lots of passing traffic. They handed out two packs of five masks each to every car that slowed down for the offer.

According to WPLG-Channel 10, Suarez handed out 10,000 masks on Friday.

“We have lots of people living in very, very small apartment buildings, so social distancing can be difficult,” Higgins said of Little Havana, where she said the county has seen a surge of cases. “We need to spread the word in these neighborhoods very quickly that they’re in a neighborhood where they need to be more careful than they even already are.”

Higgins said she’s also concerned about the area because low-income workers can struggle to acquire health insurance or paid sick time.

Florida hit another record Saturday with nearly 9,600 confirmed new cases of COVID-19. Higgins said people should stay careful, not go into crowded areas, wear their masks and call code enforcement if they see businesses not enforcing social distancing measures.

Lucero Ruballos, a county legislative aide for Rodriguez, said the county should return to leaving only essential businesses open.

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