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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: Deadliest Day In Tampa Bay And State, Medical Help Coming, 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 Tuesday, July 14, according to the Florida Department of Health:

291,629 — Positive Tests | 4,409— Deaths

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida

NEWSLETTER: Sign Up For Coronavirus Updates From Health News Florida

Record Number Of Deaths In State, Tampa Bay

Tuesday’s report from the Florida Department of Health shows it was the deadliest day for COVID-19-related deaths since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Health officials reported 132 deaths in the state since Monday’s report. It’s the largest number of deaths the state has recorded in a 24-hour period. The previous high was 120 deaths; recorded on July 9.

In the greater Tampa Bay region, health officials reported 44 deaths; also the highest since the pandemic began. 42 deaths were recorded for the region on July 9.

Pinellas County reported 26 deaths; almost doubling its previous high of 14 recorded July 5. [Read more]

-- Lisa Peakes

Medical Help Coming To Tampa Bay

Gov. Ron DeSantis said it’s not a lack of hospital beds that could pose a problem as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Florida. It’s a shortage of medical personnel.

DeSantis said he’s already deployed 1,000 additional medical staffers – especially nurses – to hospitals throughout the state, including hard-hit South Florida.

“So we’ve already dedicated a hundred personnel that the state had had on contract basis to Jackson here in Miami-Dade," DeSantis said. "We’ve put a hundred on the way into the Tampa Bay area.”

-- Danielle Prieur, WMFE

High Demand For Convalescent Plasma

Officials with Florida blood donation center OneBlood are calling for individuals who are eligible to donate convalescent plasma.

As coronavirus cases surge, the group says the need for plasma is extraordinarily high.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies that stay in the plasma portion of their blood, and transfusions to those still fighting the virus can boost their immune system and potentially help them recover.

OneBlood Senior Vice President Susan Forbes said they've seen a more than 500% increase in hospital orders for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. [Read more]

-- Lisa Peakes

Hillsborough Launches Coronavirus Dashboard

Hillsborough County has launched a comprehensive dashboard to help residents keep track of the coronavirus pandemic.

The dashboard includes information on positive cases, testing numbers and the number of patients being treated at hospitals in the county.

-- WUSF staff

DeSantis Maintains Optimism

Governor Ron DeSantis offered a glimmer of hope Monday while speaking on the coronavirus pandemic for the first time since Florida announced a record high number of positive cases.

Florida announced a record high number of positive cases. More than 12,000 people tested positive on Monday.  And the day before that, Sunday, saw more than 15,000 new positive COVID-19 cases. 

During a first press conference Monday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami-Dade County, DeSantis  tried to keep the message positive despite those numbers.

“We’re gonna get through it,” DeSantis said. “You’re a strong county. And you’re really a great engine for the state of Florida. So it’s not necessarily gonna be easy but I’m 100% confident that we’re gonna get through this.”

DeSantis also talked about how most of the people testing positive now are younger and less likely to die from the disease.

A heckler interrupted the governor at the beginning, accusing him of not doing enough as numbers soar.

-- Susan Giles Wantuck

Hillsborough Gettings Masks For Upcoming Elections 

Hillsbough County apparently can't keep enough masks on hand to fill public demand.

Tim Dudley, head of Hillsborough County Emergency Management, told the Emergency Policy Group Monday that in just a few days, they have distributed 93,000 masks to ward off the coronavirus. They originally ordered 30,000 masks, but had to reorder after people scooped them up at the county's public libraries.

Now, Dudley told the group they're focusing on the upcoming elections. [Read more]

-- Steve Newborn

ICU Beds In Hillsborough Not At 'Critical Stage'

More than 80% of Hillsborough County's intensive care unit beds are occupied by COVID-19 cases.  But that has decreased by 3% over the past week.

“The hospitals remain very busy, but they have not approached what I would call critical stage that we have seen in other counties in the state,” said Douglas Holt, of the Florida Department of Health.

Holt said the county has seen an average of 437 hospitalizations in the past seven days, and the total bed occupancy has gone down 2 percent during the past several days.

-- Susan Giles Wantuck

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