Latest On Coronavirus: Deadliest Week In Florida, Frontline Workers Blast State, 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 Thursday, July 23, according to the Florida Department of Health:
389,868 — Positive Tests | 5,518— Deaths
CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida
Florida's 7-Day Coronavirus Death Total Hits New High
The state finished the work week with still another record high number of deaths associated with the coronavirus Friday.
State health officials reported 848 people died in the seven-day period since July 17, the highest number of COVID-19-related fatalities for that time frame yet.
According to figures from the Florida Department of Health, 75,071 people statewide tested positive for the virus since July 17. The number was 8,019 less than last week’s record high of new positive tests.
According to state officials, a record number of people died from COVID-19 in the greater Tampa Bay region this week. The Department of Health reports show 222 deaths since July 17. In Pinellas County alone, there were 67 deaths. Polk County had 53, and Hillsborough reported 47 people died this week.
Health officials reported the number of positive tests in the greater Tampa Bay region was 2,688 less than last week’s record-high number of new positive tests. In the seven days since July 17th, there were 11,172 new positive tests.
Friday’s report from the Florida Department of Health shows 402,312 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state, an increase of 12,444 positive tests since Thursday.
In the greater Tampa Bay region, the state reported 2,000 more people tested positive in the 24-hour period since Thursday’s report. [Read more]
-- Lisa Peakes
Frontline Workers Say Florida Lacks Coronavirus Leadership
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried Friday hosted a virtual roundtable with frontline healthcare workers to talk about Florida’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fried and the participants discussed what Florida’s leaders must do to properly manage the COVID-19 public health crisis. The state is experiencing an outbreak that is among the worst in the United States.
“As a physician, I am appalled at the current situation, not just in the state, but the nation. In the midst of this global pandemic with no end in sight, our elected officials, Governor DeSantis, and the President, are acting like everything is fine – but everything is not fine,” said Dr. Mona Mangat, former national board chair of Doctors for America. [Read more]
-- Daylina Miller
High School Sports Season Delayed
The statewide high school athletic association decided Thursday to postpone the start of the fall sports by one month, until Aug. 24, after initially voting to proceed as normal despite the recommendations of its own medical advisory board which said it was unsafe due to rising cases of coronavirus across Florida.
The move came after several greater Tampa Bay counties decided on their own to postpone football practice and other sports for a few weeks. [Read more]
-- Kerry Sheridan
Sarasota County Needs Poll Workers
Primary election day is Aug. 18, and it seems every county in the greater Tampa Bay region needs poll workers to help out. Sarasota County will need to employ about 1,300 people to deal with the general election on Nov. 3.
Elections Supervisor Ron Turner said he lost a number of poll workers early in the cycle. "Back in March, for the March presidential preference primary, about 30% of our poll worker positions were unfilled or poll workers dropped and decided not to work because of the virus," he said.
The average age of poll workers in his county is 69, and that makes them part of the group most vulnerable to COVID-19. [Read more]
-- Susan Giles Wantuck
RNC Canceled In Jacksonville
The Jacksonville component of the Republican National Convention has been canceled, President Trump announced on Thursday, as cases of the coronavirus continue to spike across that state.
"I looked at my team and I said the timing for this event is not right. It's just not right with what's been happening," Trump said at the daily coronavirus briefing.
"They said 'Sir, we can make this work very easily.' ... I said there's nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe, whether it's from the China virus or the radical left mob." [Read more]
-- Alana Wise, NPR
Florida Craft Beer Brewers Fear Coronavirus Could Flatten Industry
More than 100 Florida breweries could shut down permanently due to state restrictions on businesses in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to a letter sent to the Governor by the Florida Brewers Guild.
The Guild, which represents around 320 state breweries, reports around 90 percent of members have been closed for more days than they have been opened this year — leading to fears that many might not be able to weather the economic hit.
After initially shutting down in March, bars reopened. Then they were shut down again in June after state leaders linked a spike in cases to the reopening and establishments not following guidelines. [Read more]
-- Brendan Byrne, WMFE
Florida Tops 100,000 Jobless Claims Last Week
More than 100,000 first-time unemployment claims were filed in Florida last week as the economy continues to struggle amid high coronavirus numbers.
The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday reported that Florida accounted for 105,410 of the estimated 1.4 million initial claims filed nationally in the week that ended July 18.
Only Georgia, with 120,281 claims, and California, with 292,673, had higher weekly figures.
While the Florida number was down from 132,831 claims during the week that ended July 11, it continued to show businesses shedding jobs. Florida’s unemployment rate in June was 10.4 percent, with the state Department of Economic Opportunity scheduled to release a July rate on Aug. 21.
-- News Service of Florida