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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: Another 5,000 Positive Cases, State Apologies For Crackdown On Bars, 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 Monday, June 29, according to the Florida Department of Health:

146.341 — Positive Tests | 3,447 — Deaths

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida

NEWSLETTER: Sign Up For Coronavirus Updates From Health News Florida

Another Day With More Than 5,000 Cases

According to the Florida Department of Health's Monday report, 146,341 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state, an increase of 5,266 positive tests since Sunday.

It's the sixth straight day the number of new cases surpassed 5,000. More than 18,000 cases were reported this weekend

Of the 41,626 reported Sunday, 15.71% came back positive.

In the Tampa Bay area, the state reported 1,095 more people tested positive in the 24-hour period since the Sunday report.

The state also reported 28 deaths in 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 3,447. [Read more]

-- Lisa Peakes

South Florida Beaches Closing For Fourth Of July

South Florida officials are closing beaches for the July 4th holiday weekend as COVID-19 cases spike.

Broward County Mayor Dale Holness announced Monday a new emergency order to close beaches, beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 3 until 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 5.

All public and private beaches in Miami-Dade County will be closed, beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 3 until 11:59 p.m., Monday, July 6. The county has banned parades during this time period, as well. Cities can still run fireworks shows if they adhere to social distancing and face covering requirements, according to the county's emergency order.

In Monroe County, all county-owned beaches and parks will be closed, beginning at 5 p.m., Thursday, July 2. They’re slated to reopen Tuesday, July 7.

Key West announced beach closures, too. The city canceled the fireworks display, expecting big crowds for the holiday weekend.

Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner announced Monday that all public and private beaches will close, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, July 3 until to 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 5.

-- Alexander Gonzalez, WLRN

State Apologies For Crackdown On Bars

Florida’s ban on serving alcohol to people in bars will be reevaluated daily, the state’s top business regulator said in a series of tweets over the weekend that also offered apologies for the crackdown.

Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is “trying to figure out a way forward” for bars, nightclubs and craft breweries that are essentially having to shut down again because of “widespread non-compliance” with coronavirus guidelines -- non-compliance he attributed mostly to young adults who are “going to do what they’re going to do.”

“My view is, I'd rather have those places open, complying,” DeSantis said during a news conference on coronavirus response efforts at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. “I think that's probably less risky than what a lot of the young people end up doing. They're still going to do things, most likely. And you may end up doing things in ways that are that are even more risky." [Read more]

-- News Service of Florida

DeSantis Vetoes About $1 Billion From Budget

Pointing to “difficult circumstances,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said he signed a $92.2 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year after vetoing about $1 billion in spending. [View the vetos list]

The large numbers of vetoes came as state revenues plummet because of economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers passed a proposed $93.2 billion budget in March as the effects of the virus started to be felt.

The new budget will take effect Wednesday, the start of the 2020-2021 fiscal year. [Read more]

-- News Service of Florida

'Scary' Rise In Sarasota Cases

The Chief Executive of Sarasota Memorial Hospital said Friday it’s “scary” how fast COVID-19 cases are rising, and that younger patients are increasingly among those hospitalized.

After seeing the number of COVID patients at the hospital dip to eight in May, and even a brief period when the intensive care unit had no COVID patients at all for a few days, CEO David Verinder said the outlook has worsened.

“Unfortunately, we've seen a rebound in our cases,” he said in a Zoom interview distributed by a hospital spokeswoman.

“We have around 34 (coronavirus) patients in the hospital today, with 10 people being in the ICU. Those numbers in themselves aren't scary. But what's scary is the fact that they've gone up so quickly, so fast. So now we're preparing, you know, for a worsened situation in the organization.” [Read more]

-- Kerry Sheridan

Pence Postpones Campaign Stops In Sarasota, Lake Wales

Vice President Mike Pence has called off campaign events in Florida and Arizona for this coming week as the states experience a surge in new coronavirus cases.

The White House says Pence will still travel to those states to meet with their governors and health teams. Florida and Arizona have set records for new confirmed infections in recent days. [Read more]

-- WUSF Staff

Florida Hospital Bed Availability Varies By County

About 76 percent of the state’s hospital beds and about 79 percent of adult intensive-care unit beds were occupied Friday as Florida faces a continuing surge in COVID-19 cases, according to information posted online by the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Availability of beds, however, varies at the county level. [Read more]

-- News Service of Florida

Two More Inmates Die

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida skyrockets, Department of Corrections officials reported Friday that two more state inmates have died of complications from the novel coronavirus.

The recent deaths bring the toll of inmate fatalities in Florida’s prison system to 23. [Read more]

-- News Service of Florida

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