The Zika virus is now being transmitted in Miami Beach,
Florida Gov. Rick Scott confirmed Friday.
Five individuals have contracted the virus on the island
that is the center of Miami’s tourism industry. They are the first people
confirmed to have contracted Zika within Florida outside of 1 square mile in
Miami’s Wynwood district, just north of downtown.
The confirmation of Zika transmissions in Miami Beach, which
sits approximately four miles east of mainland Miami across the Biscayne Bay,
comes three weeks after the first cases were confirmed in Wynwood and brings
the total number of local transmissions of Zika in Miami to 36.
In his statement Thursday, Scott sought to present a silver
lining to the bad news.
“Today, the Florida Department of Health has confirmed a
second location in Miami-Dade County where it is believed active Zika
transmission is occurring. This location is a very small area that is less than
1.5 square miles in Miami Beach,” he said. “While we are adding a second
location, the Department of Health is also able to continue reducing the zone
in Wynwood. The ability to continue reducing that area where we believe local
transmission is occurring shows that our efforts to aggressively spray for
mosquitoes and educate the public are working.”
Scott said that on Friday health officials were able to
clear three blocks in northeast Wynwood from the transmission zone.
The affected zone in Miami Beach spans the width of the
island and runs from 8th Street to 28th Street. As such, it encompasses the
majority of South Beach, including much of Ocean Drive, as well as the upscale
Lincoln Road pedestrian mall and the Miami Beach Convention Center.