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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: Questions Over Unemployment Eligibility, Florida Nears 51,000 Cases, 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. Sunday, May 24, according to the Florida Department of Health:

48,814 – Florida Residents |  1,313 – Non-Florida Residents | 2,233  – Deaths

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Florida Approaching 51,000 Cases, No Tampa Bay Area Deaths Reported

The Florida Department of Health reported Sunday that 50,867 people have tested positive for the coronavirus; an increase of 740 cases since Saturday. There were 131 new infections reported in the Tampa Bay region.

The health department also reported four new deaths due to complications from COVID-19 since Saturday,  bringing the state's total to 2,237.

There were no deaths reported in the Tampa Bay area. It’s the first day no local deaths were reported since April 26, which was also a Sunday.

The daily report from the health department includes information released by the state on an individual day. Cases and deaths in the report may have happened days or weeks earlier, according to state officials. [Read more]

-- Mark Schreiner

Questions Continue Over Unemployment Eligibility

On Friday, federal government statistics showed Florida's unemployment rate shot up to 12.9 percent in April. That is higher than what it was during the worst of the Great Recession. About 1 million Floridians have successfully filed for state unemployment benefits. That's less than two-thirds of the total unique jobless applications received by the state.

The governor said the number of people receiving help has steadily increased in the last few weeks as his administration works to retool the state’s overwhelmed unemployment system. About a half million people who applied for unemployment since the pandemic began have been ruled ineligible for benefits. The governor has suggested they didn't fill out the applications properly or submitted more than one application.

Spectrum News 13 in Orlando is among news organizations asking Floridians to submit their names if they are waiting to hear about their unemployment applications. Reporter Stephanie Coueignoux told The Florida Roundup on Friday they had collected more than 6,600 names.

"They became unemployed because of the coronavirus. They have filed for their unemployment benefits and they haven't received the full amount of benefits," she said.

"There's fear. They really don't know what their future holds. They're frustrated because a lot of these individuals have tried so many times to get through. And then there's the fatigue -- there's the fatigue of trying to just get what they need to survive." [Read more]

-- Tom Hudson

DeSantis Calls Childhood Illness Associated With COVID-19 'Extremely Rare' Despite Reported Cases

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday called a childhood illness tied to COVID-19 extremely rare, despite reports of at least eight confirmed cases in Florida.

He also said parents can decide about whether they think their children are potentially at risk.

“I think it’s something parents should consider. It is extremely rare,” DeSantis said of the illness known as “multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children,” or MIS-C.

DeSantis, who held a news conference in Jacksonville to announce that he is lifting coronavirus-related restrictions on youth activities, initially deferred questions about MIS-C to Bonnie White, a Ponte Vedra Beach pediatrician who treats his children and appeared at the news conference.

“It’s my understanding that we haven’t seen any cases, that Wolfson (Children’s Hospital) is monitoring seven kids for symptoms of it, but as of yesterday they haven’t had any cases,” White said.

But Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville confirmed Thursday that it had two patients with cases of MIS-C.

Also, Mobeen Rathore, a physician and chief of the University of Florida’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology who works at the children’s hospital,  said 12 patients in the Jacksonville area have been treated at Wolfson since mid-April who are now suspected to have had MIS-C.

South Florida has had another six cases, with five patients remaining hospitalized. One patient who was being treated at Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami was discharged Friday. [Read more]

-- News Service of Florida

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