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Spike in coronavirus cases causes concern among doctors, leaders in Palm Beach County

'I personally don’t want see us go backward,' Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth says
Posted at 4:17 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 17:17:46-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — More than 100 new cases of the deadly coronavirus were recorded over the weekend in Palm Beach County.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County has more than tripled from the same time last month.

While county officials have said hospitalizations are under control, infectious disease specialist Dr. Leslie Diaz said that's a false narrative.

"They need to get the numbers right," said Dr. Diaz. "I invite any administrator, any governor, anybody that wants to come and join me for a day and then they can tallk. It is not true. The numbers are rising."

Dr. Diaz said it's not necessarily the spike in cases in Palm Beach County that she's worried about, it's the hospitalizations.

"I see the units run out of beds and I see the, oh my God, we have to scramble and put these patients somewhere else," said Dr. Diaz. "I mean, this is happening. It's reality. And I was in the hospital yesterday for hours because we got hit with seven new ones, boom, boom, boom, one after the othe,r and this is in a matter of an hour."

Some question whether another lockdown will be considered or whether the county should slow down its continued reopening of the economy.

Currently, Gov. Ron DeSantis has not responded to the county's request to move to Phase Two of Florida's reopening plan.

"I know I personally don’t want see us go backward," said Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth. "I don’t think there’s a tolerance for it."

Weinroth said the county commission knew there would be an increase in cases once the economy reopened.

Dr. Diaz said she's not in favor of another lockdown but said something has to be done to slow the number of cases coming into local hospitals.

"Are we going to be overwhelmed? Are we going to turn into another New York because of our senseless decision making on money over lives?" said Dr. Diaz.

WPTV is working to gather data related to COVID-19 in Palm Beach County hospitals, including a breakdown of hospital admissions and ICU cases.

Ryan Lieber, the public relations manager for Delray Medical Center, Good Samaritan Medical Center, Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, St. Mary’s Medical Center, and West Boca Medical Center, released this statement to WPTV on Monday:

"As the largest hospital network in Palm Beach County, the number of patients in the ICU’s across our system is manageable, and our critical care bed availability is greater than the Palm Beach County average reported by the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA). In the event we see a surge of cases that need to be hospitalized, our hospitals have plans in place to continue providing care safely, and include the ability to increase our critical care capacity."