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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Latest On Coronavirus: Florida Cases Top 4,000, Hillsborough To Receive Hydroxychloroquine, And More

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WUSF will be providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in Tampa Bay and across the state. Here are the latest developments:

Total positive cases of coronavirus as of 11 a.m. Saturday, March 28, according to the Florida Department of Health.

3,877 – Florida Residents | 8 – Florida Cases Repatriated | 161 – Non-Florida Residents | 56 – Deaths

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And WUSF Public Media

NEWSLETTER: Sign Up For Coronavirus Updates From Health News Florida

Cases Involving Floridians Tops 4,000 As 3 Pinellas Residents Die

Three more people in Pinellas County have died from coronavirus, bringing the county’s total death toll so far to four, as the state of Florida reported a new record leap in coronavirus cases – 863 more in a day -- officials said Saturday.

Statewide, 56 people have died from COVID-19, according to the Florida Department of Health’s Saturday evening update. The total known infections is now 4,038 total in Florida.

The Saturday morning total was 863 more cases than were reported Friday morning by the state department of health, which updates its figures twice a day.  The number of cases from Friday evening to Saturday evening increased by 840. The Thursday to Friday caseload rose by 714. [Read more]

-- Kerry Sheridan

Sarasota Memorial Has 4 More Positive Cases, Including Health Care Worker

Four more people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, a spokeswoman said Saturday afternoon. A total of 30 positive tests have come back to SMH, and 16 patients remain hospitalized. One person has died of coronavirus complications at the hospital.

A female member of the hospital’s “patient care team” has tested positive for coronavirus, and the hospital was notified of this on Friday, the statement said.

The person “has been at home since Monday,” and the case remains under investigation.

“Based on the tracing of the employee's contacts, there is no known exposure to a positive patient at SMH. She is doing well and will be monitored at home for 14 days,” said the hospital statement.

“Patients and staff who had close contact with the employee in the days before she went into quarantine are being notified. As a precaution, several staff members have been asked to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days, and we are testing those who have or develop symptoms.”

-- Kerry Sheridan

DeSantis Secures Shipment Of Hydroxychloroquine From Israel

Hillsborough County is among the areas in the state being hardest hit with coronavirus that will receive a shipment of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is being touted by some as a possible treatment for the symptoms of coronavirus.

During a news conference on Saturday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he worked with David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel – who he said he considers a friend -- to arrange the shipment from Israeli company Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Hydroxychloroquine is a treatment for malaria that has been referenced by President Donald Trump during his White House coronavirus briefings as a possible treatment for coronavirus. [Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Sarasota Boat Ramps Closing

Sarasota is closing its boat ramps effect Sunday morning at 6 a.m. City officials say the 10th Street and City Island will be closed, along with the Bird Key Park parking lot.

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Hillsborough Parks, Preserves Are Closed
Hillsborough County has followed its “shelter-at-home” vote with a decision to close all county parks and preserves are now closed to contain coronavirus outbreak.

County officials announced the parks were closed effective Friday night at 10 p.m. in an “abundance of caution.” [Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Florida Suspends Vacation Rentals

Florida will suspend all new vacation rentals for two weeks in hopes of stopping the spread of coronavirus.

Gov. Ron Desantis announced the measure Friday, saying it will limit visitors from problem areas around the country.

DeSantis says the suspension does not apply to people who are in at rentals now.

-- WUSF Staff

DeSantis Orders Louisiana Arrivals Into Quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is ordering that anyone arriving in the state from Louisiana must self-quarantine because of the coronavirus pandemic.

DeSantis said Friday he is expanding his quarantine order to include Louisiana after officials in the lightly hit Panhandle worried that people will flee New Orleans as the number of positive tests there climb.

The order will require anyone who arrives from Louisiana to isolate themselves for two weeks under the threat of a misdemeanor conviction and a 60-day jail sentence. He already issued identical restrictions on travelers arriving from the New York area

DeSantis said the Florida Highway Patrol will set up checkpoints to screen cars arriving from Louisiana.

-- Associated Press

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I wasn't always a morning person. After spending years as a nighttime sports copy editor and page designer, I made the move to digital editing in 2000. Turns out, it was one of the best moves I've ever made.
I cover health and K-12 education – two topics that have overlapped a lot since the pandemic began.