Coronavirus infects vaccinated leader at Florida condo collapse site


Officials from Miami-Dade County stand in from of the rubble that once was Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Members of search and rescue teams and Miami-Dade Fire rescue along with police and workers who have been working at the site of the collapse gathered for a moment of prayer and silence next to the collapsed tower. (Jose A Iglesias/Miami Herald via AP)

MIAMI (AP) — A vaccinated Miami-Dade county commissioner who helped other local officials in Surfside following the collapse of a condominium building announced that he and his chief of staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The news release late Sunday from Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jose “Pepe” Diaz said he and his chief of staff Isidoro Lopez, who also received a vaccine against COVID-19, came down with flu-like symptoms earlier in the day and later tested positive for the virus.

“Staff and others who have been in close contact with them will be getting tested between today and tomorrow,” the news release said. The statement also said Diaz and Lopez would be isolating and following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diaz had participated in news conferences and meetings with other officials in Surfside, the Miami Herald reported. Miami Dade spokesperson Rachel Johnson told the newspaper that COVID-19 tests would be administered at the Surfside command center on Monday.

The search for bodies continues at the wreckage of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, where Monday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed the death toll had reached 94.

“Breakthrough” infections — fully vaccinated individuals who contract the coronavirus — do happen, although they are very rare. An Associated Press analysis of government data in May showed only about 1% of such cases resulted in hospitalization or death. The analysis suggested that nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. recently have been in people who weren’t vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths could approach zero if every eligible person gets the vaccine.

Last week, Florida health officials reported an increase in COVID-19 cases and a higher positive test rate compared with other recent weeks.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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