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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: Pinellas Reports 7 Deaths, Busch Gardens To Reopen Next Week, 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. Tuesday, June 2, according to the Florida Department of Health:

57,447 — Positive Tests | 2,530 — Deaths

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida

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Pinellas Reports 7 Deaths As State Records 70

The Florida Department of Health reported Tuesday that 57,447 people have tested positive for the coronavirus; an increase of 617 cases since Monday.

The health department recorded 105 new infections in the Tampa Bay region.

State health officials also reported 70 coronavirus-related deaths since Monday, bringing the total deaths to 2,530.

Fourteen of the deaths were in the Tampa Bay area, and seven occurred in Pinellas County, according to the health department. It is the highest number of deaths in a day for Pinellas since the coronavirus pandemic began. [Read more]

-- Lisa Peakes

Busch Gardens To Reopen June 11

Busch Gardens in Tampa is opening back up on Thursday, June 11.

That’s a full month earlier than Disney World and about a week after Universal Studios plans to reopen.

The state, Hillsborough County, and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor all signed off on Busch Gardens' reopening plans in the past week or so. [Read more]

-- Susan Giles Wantuck

Teachers Demands A Halt To State Tests, School Grades Next Year

Florida’s largest teachers union wants to suspend state exams and evaluations of school and teacher performance as part of a larger plan for how to reopen schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Florida Education Association has long been critical of the state’s two-decade-old accountability system, which uses student test scores and other measures to assign letter grades to schools and labels like “effective” or “highly effective” to teachers.

Union president Fedrick Ingram said tying high stakes to tests is inappropriate now, since educators expect many students to fall behind academically due to unequal access to educational resources after schools closed in mid-March to stop the spread of the coronavirus. [Read more]

-- Jessica Bakeman, WLRN

Half of Deaths Linked To Long-Term Care

In a stark reminder of the toll of COVID-19 on seniors and their caregivers, slightly more than half of the reported deaths of Floridians from the disease are now linked to long-term care facilities, state figures show.

Florida topped the 50 percent threshold in numbers released Saturday by the state Department of Health. A report released Sunday showed 2,451 deaths of Florida residents from COVID-19, with 1,230 involving residents or staff members of long-term care facilities. [Read more]

-- News Service of Florida

Keys Reopen To Tourists

The Florida Keys reopened for visitors Monday after the tourist-dependent island chain was closed for more than two months to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

As the Keys took down barriers, Miami-Dade County decided to keep its beaches closed because of protests over the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck.

Roadblocks were taken down shortly after midnight near Key Largo.

Almost half of all workers in the Keys are employed by hotels, bars and other hospitality industries, and many of the rest are involved in commercial and sport fishing.

-- Associated Press

Moratorium On Evictions, Foreclosures Extended

Florida's moratorium on evictions and foreclosures will remain in place for another month.

It was set to expire Tuesday. But Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an order extending it through July 1.

Many Floridians are struggling to pay rents and mortgages due to unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

-- WUSF Staff

Second COVID-19 Wave Expected

Health experts worry COVID-19 cases could rise because of the reopening of restaurants and businesses, as well as large gatherings that are part of nationwide protests. Epidemiologist Perry Brown is a professor at Florida A&M University. He says a spike in positive coronavirus cases around the country is likely to happen.

“I would love to be wrong because the outcome would be the best outcome but again my fear is that some of these things that are happening now with both the relaxation as well as the mass gatherings will contribute to a second wave,” Brown said.

Protestors in Florida lined up at the capitol building Monday, some were wearing face masks and others weren’t. Few were practicing social distancing. For Faiy Al, a student at Florida State University, worries about the coronavirus aren’t her main concern. She says right now there are bigger issues to worry about than COVID 19. [Read more]

-- Blaise Gainey, WFSU

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