Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Wooden hearts with the names of victims are erected along side the photos, flowers, and other memorial items. 90 people have been confirmed dead due to the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., on July 11, 2021.

Carl Juste/The Associated Press

The death toll in the Miami-area condominium collapse climbed to 94 Monday as officials planned to step up security at the site to make sure the personal possessions of the victims are preserved for their families.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said 22 people remain unaccounted for in the June 24 collapse of Champlain Towers South, an oceanside condo building in Surfside. Levine Cava said 83 of the victims have been identified but “the process of making identifications has been made more difficult as time goes on.”

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said officials have decided to increase security around the debris pile to ensure that the site is preserved. Only authorized personnel will be allowed.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s obvious that this has become much more than a collapsed building site,” Burkett said. “It has become a holy site.”

Miami-Dade Police Department Director Alfredo Ramirez III said there has been “no criminality” at the site, but officials want to make sure the area is secure so crews can continue to preserve personal items found in the rubble.

“As families are being notified about their family members, the ask is always about property. People want some sort of connection to their family member, so it’s very important that our process that we have in place continues to flow uninterrupted,” Ramirez said during a morning news conference.

“It’s just part of the process. This is a long, painful, hurtful process,” he said.

Burkett said work crews recently found a business card for an artist and then found several paintings they carefully pulled out of the debris pile to preserve for family members.

Levine Cava also addressed the announcement Sunday that a vaccinated Miami-Dade county commissioner who helped other local officials in Surfside has tested positive for COVID-19. The news release 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.

Levine Cava said officials who were in close proximity to Diaz and Lopez have been tested and all have come back negative. Levine Cava and other officials who spoke at Monday’s news conference did not wear face masks.

Story continues below advertisement

Diaz had participated in news conferences and meetings with other officials in Surfside, the Miami Herald reported.

“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.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies