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Health News Florida
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 Pass 43,000, Foreclosure and Eviction Orders Extended, 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:

Here are the latest figures as of 11 a.m. Thursday, May 14, according to the Florida Department of Health:

42,038 – Florida Residents | 1,172 – Non-Florida Residents | 1,875 – Deaths

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida

NEWSLETTER: Sign Up For Coronavirus Updates From Health News Florida

Publix Returning To Its Normal Hours

Publix will return to its normal hours of operation starting Saturday, another indication that businesses across the state are continuing the process of reopening.

The Lakeland-based grocery store chain will continue to maintain its recently implemented social distancing guidelines, including one-way shopping aisles, limits on the number of customers at one time, and mandatory face coverings for employees, according to a news release.

Stores once again will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and pharmacies will return to their normal hours.

There no longer will be designated early shopping hours for those over 65, first responders and health-care workers, according to the release. However, those who want to avoid crowds are urged to shop early.[Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Order On Evictions, Foreclosures Extended

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he is extending until June 2 an executive order aimed at preventing foreclosures and evictions as people struggle financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

DeSantis made the announcement during a news conference in Miami-Dade County, a day after signaling that he planned to approve an extension.

The executive order, which takes legal steps to try to prevent foreclosures and evictions, was issued April 2 and had been set to expire Sunday.

Thursday’s announcement came hours after a U.S. Department of Labor report said nearly 222,000 first-time unemployment claims were filed last week in Florida.

-- News Service of Florida

Superintendents Ask for Guidelines On How To Reopen Schools

The call for defined guidelines from the state on what steps will be needed to reopen schools is now coming from district superintendents.

The Florida Association of District School Superintendents wants specific guidance on things like student-to-teacher ratio, what to do for large gatherings like lunch and recess, and how many students can ride buses at one time. It also wants a list of personal protective items that must be in each classroom.

Michael Grego is superintendent for Pinellas County Schools, and is on the Association’s board of directors. He discussed the organization’s request during Wednesday’s state Board of Education meeting.

“We know there is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty, but having statewide parameters and conditions allows the districts, then, to truly plan for local context,” Grego told the board. [Read more]

-- Ryan Dailey, WFSU

Another 221,000 Floridians File For Unemployment Benefits

Another 221,000 Floridians filed for unemployment benefits last week, even as restaurants and retail shops started re-opening with limitations for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced the shuttering of businesses around the state.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 221,905 new jobless claims were filed in Florida last week, up a quarter from the 174,860 claims filed the previous week.

Florida’s unemployment system has been widely criticized for its difficulty in filing claims and also for delays in getting payments. So it’s hard to determine if weekly fluctuations are due to new cases are those cases that have finally been accepted. [Read more]

-- Associated Press

People Favor Wearing Masks, Survey Shows

A new survey shows a majority of respondents favor requiring people to wear face masks in public. But a large portion says the responses to the pandemic could be worse than the disease.

The Sunshine State Survey was done by the University of South Florida and Nielsen, to get the public's reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. USF Assistant Professor Joshua Scacco says one of the big surprises is nearly eight in 10 people support the state requiring the use of facemasks.

"We've all seen, either in social media or in the news, individuals complaining or screaming or protesting about wearing face masks or businesses closing, those types of things," he said. "And what we've seen is widespread support among the individuals surveyed for face masks." [Read more]

-- Steve Newborn

How The HEROES Act Breaks Down

Florida would get billions of dollars for coronavirus relief through the latest federal aid package proposed by the House, known as the "HEROES Act."

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) outlined some of the highlights of the $3 trillion package during a virtual meeting with area leaders on Wednesday. [Read more]

--  Stephanie Colombini

Adjusting To Pregnancy In A Pandemic

Pregnancy is supposed to be a magical time for mothers and their families. But it can also be scary, and the coronavirus is making it more so.

More than 40,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida and nearly 2,000 have died. But amid the sickness and uncertainly, life goes on; and new life begins.

"Becoming a mom for the first time is this incredible magical, scary, life changing experience in and of itself,” said Robyn Odegard Steckel, who is 37 weeks pregnant.

“There's a lot of feelings of confusion, love, isolation, loneliness, fear, but love, love, love, right, around becoming a mother and then just throw it into a pandemic." [Read more]

-- Daylina Miller

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