Latest On Coronavirus: Florida Cites 11,111 Cases, Confusion Over Stay-At-Home Order, And More
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 April 4, according to the Florida Department of Health:
10, 760 – Florida Residents | 9 – Florida Cases Repatriated | 351 – Non-Florida Residents | 191 – Deaths
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Florida Eclipses 11,000 Cases
Thursday, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the grim milestone of 1 million infections worldwide and 5,600 US deaths.
The Florida Department of Health reported, as of 11 a.m. Saturday, April 4, 11,111 people in Florida have been infected with the coronavirus.
191 people in the state have died from COVID-19.
-- Lisa Peakes
Hillsborough Extends State Of Emergency; Confusion Over Houses Of Worship
Hillsborough's Emergency Policy Group on Thursday extended the county's state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak for another week.
But there was some confusion about how their rules extend to houses of worship, after Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed the issue after their meeting.
Shortly after Hillsborough officials met, Gov. DeSantis spoke from Tallahassee, saying he believes the government does not have the power to shut down any house of worship.
He instead asked that those that would rather not stream their services online and meet in person practice social distancing guidelines and keep congregants at least six feet away from each other during services. [Read more]
-- Steve Newborn
DeSantis Suspends Foreclosures, Clarifies Stay-At-Home Order
Governor Ron DeSantis announced he's suspending foreclosures and evictions statewide for 45 days. But he also talked about a pair of seemingly conflicting orders he signed a day earlier.
DeSantis' first proclamation Wednesday set up a stay-at-home order for the entire state. A second order issued quietly a few hours later said the new state rules "supersede" all county ones.
Thursday, DeSantis tried to clarify.
"We have the baseline,” DeSantis said. “If some folks want to do things more, then they can do more in certain situations."
County officials in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties each expressed confusion over the two separate orders.
-- WUSF Staff
Tampa Bay Exhibits, Festivals And Concerts Available Online
Museums, educational centers, galleries and other cultural centers in Florida are closed to visitors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But many are offering online art and science programs to engage people while they keep appropriate social distance.
Looking for a diversion this weekend? We compiled a list with links to some virtual exhibitions, movies, ideas for activities at home and educational programs in the greater Tampa Bay region. [Read more]
-- Angela Cordoba Perez, Thomas Iacobucci
Duke Energy Seeks May Rate Reduction
Duke Energy Florida is the latest utility to propose giving customers a break on their May electric bills.
Duke joined Florida Power & Light and Gulf Power in announcing plans to use savings from lower-than-expected fuel costs to slash May utility bills.
Tampa Electric has proposed a similar plan, though it would be spread out over the summer rather than focused on one month.
The proposals remain subject to approval by the Florida Public Service Commission, with Duke asking regulators to sign off by April 24.
Utilities are required to pass along savings to customers when power-plant fuel costs drop, but the money typically goes to customers gradually. Duke, FPL and Gulf would lump together fuel savings this year into one-time bill reductions in May.
For residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month, their bills would drop from the current $129 a month to $102 in May before going back up in June.
-- News Service of Florida
Ships With Coronavirus Patients Dock In Port Everglades
A cruise ship that had at least two passengers die of coronavirus and others sickened while barred from South American ports has finally docked at Port Everglades.
The Zaandam and a sister ship sent to help it, the Rotterdam, were given permission to unload passengers on Thursday, after days of negotiations with officials who feared it would divert resources from a region with a spike in virus cases.
The agreement was reached Thursday by local, state and federal officials and Carnival Corp., which owns the Zaandam and the Rotterdam.
-- Associated Press
Pinellas Closes Non-Essential Businesses
After a long meeting that highlighted confusion about the statewide stay-at-home order Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Wednesday, Pinellas County Commissioners voted Thursday to close non-essential businesses in order to comply.
But as they put that plan into effect, officials say they'll seek guidance from the state about the scope of DeSantis' order.
Under the county stay-at-home order implemented last week, businesses like barbershops, nail salons, jewelry stores and others could remain open if they practiced social distancing. But the state order bars people from visiting non-essential locations. [Read more]
-- Stephanie Colombini
What Does DeSantis' Order Mean For You?
What is an essential business? What are essential activities? There was a bit of confusion after Gov. Ron DeSantis issued his stay-at-home order. Here are some questions and answers that should clarify things. [Read more]
-- Jonah Hinebaugh and Dylan Rudolph
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