Latest On Coronavirus: Tampa Bay Has Highest Daily Death Toll, Testing Sites Overwhelmed, 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 Tuesday, June 30, according to the Florida Department of Health:
152,434 — Positive Tests | 3,505 — Deaths
CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida
Tampa Bay Reports Highest Daily Death Increase
According to the Florida Department of Health's daily report, the Tampa Bay area recorded its highest daily increase in deaths Tuesday.
The state's report noted 58 deaths in 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 3,505.
There were 23 deaths in the Tampa Bay area, including 12 in Sarasota County and five in Polk County.
Also Tuesday, the state reported total cases of the coronavirus passed 150,000.
The report shows 152,434 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state, an increase of 6,093 positive tests since Monday.
It's the seventh straight day the number of new cases surpassed 5,000.
Of the 43,446 tests reported Monday, 16.82% came back positive. [Read more]
-- Lisa Peakes
Overwhelming Demand For Tests
As coronavirus cases in Florida have surged, so has the demand for testing and Tampa Bay area health officials are struggling to keep up.
A new testing site at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg run by BayCare had to shut down for the day about an hour after opening because it ran out of supplies.
This comes after the healthcare organization had to close a drive-thru testing site in the Carillon office park last week because long lines of cars were disrupting other local businesses.
BayCare tested 357 people at Tropicana Field on Monday morning.
“No one likes turning people away, but unfortunately the nation’s supply lines and laboratory capacity continue to struggle to expand fast enough to keep up with COVID-19’s spread and the increased demand for testing,” Jim Cote, senior vice president of BayCare Ambulatory Services, said in a statement. “We will be back tomorrow and serve as many as we can.” [Read more]
-- Stephanie Colombini
Sarasota Passes Mask Ordinance
Citing concerns over the spread of coronavirus, the city of Sarasota is joining a growing list of Florida cities that require the wearing of face masks in public spaces.
The Sarasota City Commission approved the measure at a special meeting on Monday.
City leaders say they received hundreds of phone calls and emails about the proposed mask mandate. Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin told commissioners a majority of respondents supported the measure in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. [Read more]
-- Cathy Carter
Changes To Hillsborough Face Mask Policy
Requirements to wear face masks in Hillsborough County businesses and public spaces will continue for another week, but there are some adjustments.
The county’s Emergency Policy Group voted on Monday to raise the age of children exempt from the mandate from two to eight.
Kids under 18 also don’t have to wear face masks if they’re participating in organized youth activities like sports, summer camps, or daycare.
Nonprofit organizations, which originally were among the groups that didn't have to comply with the requirement, now do, as group members noted the original order left out places like museums and Goodwill stores which can draw indoor crowds. [Read more]
-- Stephanie Colombini
St. Anthony's Triathlon Canceled
The St. Anthony’s Triathlon Weekend in St Petersburg has been cancelled.
The event was originally scheduled for the weekend of April 24th, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Triathlon organizers had been working with the city of St. Petersburg to find new dates. But, according to a press release citing concerns for the health and safety of athletes, volunteers and community members, they decided against rescheduling.
Registered athletes have the option of participating in 2021, donating registration fees to St Anthony’s Hospital to help fight COVID-19, or getting a refund.
-- Lisa Peakes
Gov. DeSantis Vetoes $1 Billion From Florida Budget
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday slashed $1 billion before signing a $92.2 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, as he tries to keep lawmakers from having to come back to Tallahassee ahead of the November elections to address revenue shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to vetoing more than 500 spending proposals by lawmakers, DeSantis pointed to other steps he and lawmakers have taken to shore up the state’s finances. That included bolstering reserves and looking to money from a federal stimulus law known as the CARES Act. [Read more]
-- News Service of Florida
Could Spike Cause Florida Keys To Close?
Spiking coronavirus numbers in the Florida Keys are causing consternation among public officials, and questions about whether the county will once again close to visitors.
"We were fortunate for the time we had the checkpoint up and you saw what the results were. We did a really good job. The community was behind it," Bob Eadie, administrator of the Monroe County office of the state Department of Health, said at an emergency management update meeting on Monday.
"Now it's like with the checkpoint off, it's almost like it's business as it used to be. And the thing is that it's not. We are really in the position now of what are we going to do because we are teetering on the edge of having a real huge outbreak." [Read more]
-- Nancy Klingener, WLRN
Gas Prices Could Fall As Cases Rise
Florida’s recent surge in coronavirus cases could mean reduced prices at the gas pump once again.
According to AAA, the increase in cases could mean reduced travel – and as a result, reduced demand for gas and a leveling off of prices that increased when Florida officials began reopening the state a few weeks ago.
"Demand concerns are beginning to creep back into the market, now that cases of coronavirus are on the rise in Florida," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a news release. "State numbers suggest demand is holding steady, but market analysts worry about an eventual downturn. [Read more]
-- Carl Lisciandrello
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