Latest On Coronavirus: Second Highest State Jump, Florida Moving Into Phase 2, 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:
Here are the latest figures as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 3, according to the Florida Department of Health:
58,764 — Positive Tests | 2,566 — Deaths
CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida
State Reports Second Highest Daily Jump In Cases
The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday reported an increase of 1,317 positive coronavirus tests.
It’s the second-highest number of new cases recorded in a day for the state since the outbreak began. The only time the state reported more cases was six weeks ago on April 17 when 1,413 people tested positive.
The total number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state now stands at 58,764.
The department reported 190 new infections in the Tampa Bay region. Ninety-nine of them were in Hillsborough County - a new one-day high for the county.
State health officials also reported 36 coronavirus-related deaths since Tuesday, bringing the total deaths to 2,566. [Read more]
-- Lisa Peakes
DeSantis Announces Florida Moving Into Phase 2
Bars, tattoo shops and movie theaters can partially reopen Friday in most of the state, as Gov. Ron DeSantis moves into the second phase of his plan to revive the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeSantis, who has promoted a three-phase reopening plan, said Wednesday the state would “inch” into the second phase “in a way that's very, very measured.”
The announcement covers 64 of the state’s 67 counties and came after the virus pushed the state’s unemployment rate to 12.9 percent in April, representing an estimated 1.218 million Floridians qualifying as unemployed. DeSantis appeared at Universal Orlando, where passholders started to be allowed into the theme park Wednesday in advance of a public opening on Friday. [Read more]
-- News Service of Florida
Saint Leo Closing Lakeland Location
Saint Leo University is closing its satellite location in Lakeland.
The private Catholic university is based in Pasco County and operates remote locations in seven states. Lakeland is one of 17 facilities slated to close over the next few months.
In a press release, the university cited enrollment trends and the coronavirus pandemic as reasons for shuttering more than half of its satellite locations. [Read more]
-- Cathy Carter
Duval GOP: Jacksonville A ‘Leading Alternative’ If Trump Moves RNC
With President Donald Trump's tweet Tuesday night that the GOP is “forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention,” the Duval County Republican Party is renewing its call to bring the convention to Jacksonville.
"It's clear that Jacksonville is emerging as the leading alternative to Charlotte for the Convention," said Dean Black, Chairman of the Republican Party of Duval County in an email to WJCT News. "We were proud to start the #RNCtoJAX campaign more than a week ago and are thrilled to see so much support from Republicans across our state."
The president tweeted after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said Tuesday it's "very unlikely" the state can permit a full-capacity Republican National Convention in Charlotte to go forward this summer. [Read more]
-- Bill Bortzfield, WJCT
Legoland's Reopening Gives Look Into The Future Of Florida's Theme Parks
Legoland officially reopened Monday and it offered some clues about what theme park fans might expect in the post-pandemic world.
Reporter Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel visited the Winter Haven park and says it's a lot like other businesses that are trying to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
-- Dinorah Prevost, Mary Shedden, Matthew Peddie
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
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