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Stephanie Colombini

Reporter

Stephanie Colombini joined WUSF Public Media in December 2016 as Producer of Florida Matters, WUSF’s public affairs show. She’s also a reporter for WUSF’s Health News Florida project.

Stephanie was born and raised just outside New York City. She graduated from Fordham University in the Bronx, where she got her start in radio at NPR member station WFUV in 2012. In addition to reporting and anchoring, Stephanie helped launch the news department’s first podcast series, Issues Tank.

Prior to joining the WUSF family, Stephanie spent a year reporting for CBS Radio’s flagship station WCBS Newsradio 880 in Manhattan. Her assignments included breaking news stories such as the 2016 bombings in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and Seaside Park, NJ and political campaigns. As part of her job there, she was forced to – and survived – a night of reporting on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

Her work in feature reporting and podcast production has earned her awards from the Public Radio News Directors, Inc. and the Alliance for Women in Media.

While off-the-clock, you might catch Stephanie at a rock concert, on a fishing boat or anywhere that serves delicious food.

Contact Stephanie by emailing her at scolombini@wusf.org or follow her on Twitter @steph_colombini.

Map of PSTA's proposed bus rapid transit route.
PSTA

A planned bus corridor linking downtown St. Petersburg with St. Pete Beach is getting $21.8 million dollars in federal funding. 


Small flags beside graves at Bay Pines National Cemetery
Jim Robinson / Flickr

The coronavirus pandemic is putting a damper on the parades and military gatherings that would typically take place on Memorial Day. But groups in the Tampa Bay area are adapting.


Gov. Ron DeSantis at the podium
Governor's Press Office

Researchers and elected officials are demanding answers from the state amid reports that it fired a scientist who was managing Florida's COVID-19 dashboard for "refusing to manipulate data."

gloved lab worker holds up test tube of blood
J.M. Eddins Jr. / U.S. Air Force

Floridians wondering if they had COVID-19 recently and just didn't know it have a new way to find out. OneBlood is now testing all blood donations for coronavirus antibodies.


KC-135 Stratotanker at MacDill Air Force Base
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Planes from MacDill Air Force Base will fly over a dozen Tampa Bay area hospitals on Friday to pay tribute to health care workers fighting the spread of COVID-19.


pile of money
flickr

Florida would get billions of dollars for coronavirus relief through the latest federal aid package proposed by the House, known as the "HEROES Act."


Stephanie Colombini and her boyfriend Shean wearing facemasks in their car as they approach the drive-thru testing site.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Public health experts say expanded coronavirus testing is critical to safely reopen the economy and prevent a second wave of infections. Parts of Florida like Hillsborough County are offering free testing to everyone.

Health News Florida's Stephanie Colombini recently got tested at one of the county's drive-thru sites, even though she had no symptoms. She shares her experience.

  

Diners enjoy outdoor seating at Parkshore Grill in St. Petersburg on Monday. Tables must be spaced six feet apart.
Tyson Grant / Parkshore Grill

Diners are returning to Tampa Bay area restaurants for sit-down service now that the state is letting them reopen with limited capacity.


Disruptions to everyday life caused by the coronavirus pandemic are putting a strain on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some are seeking help virtually.


Coronavirus health worker in a protective suit.
New Jersey National Guard

State officials are blocking Florida medical examiners from releasing their own list of coronavirus deaths, according to the Tampa Bay Times. 

An investigation by the Times previously reported the medical examiners' death count was at one point 10 percent higher than the official number released by the state.

health worker holding containers of donated blood
Ahmed Ardity / Pixabay

The Tampa veterans’ hospital is joining several hospitals in Florida in a national study looking at whether blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can be used to treat patients with the disease.

drive-thru coronavirus testing site
University of Florida

State and local officials are trying to get the word out to the public that anyone who wants a coronavirus test can get one now.

They have lifted restrictions on symptoms and travel history that were previously in place to ensure supplies got prioritized for those most in-need.


Elderly people holding hands - close-up on hands.
Pixabay

Nearly 30 percent of coronavirus deaths in Florida are linked to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Residents of these facilities are especially vulnerable to get COVID-19, as are the staff taking care of them.

coronavirus testing
istock

State officials are meeting to decide when to re-open Florida as the number of new coronavirus cases starts to go down. But public health experts say doing so too soon could be dangerous.

portion of the survey USF is using for its COVID-19 symptom-based surveillance program.
University of South Florida

Hillsborough and Pinellas County residents will be able to view areas where people are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 with a new online program from the University of South Florida.


Man in military uniform using a computer
Kemberley Groue / U.S. Air Force

The transition from classroom to virtual learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many student veterans, and the worries may not end with the spring semester.


A coronavirus screening site at the villages
University of Florida Health

The number of new coronavirus cases in Florida has been lower the past several days compared to last week.

But at the same time, deaths from COVID-19 are increasing. The 72 deaths reported Tuesday by the Florida Department of Health are the state's highest single-day toll yet.

Coronavirus health worker in a protective suit.
New Jersey National Guard

State health officials are sharing the addresses of patients who test positive for COVID-19 with first responders. The goal is to inform them about areas where the virus may be present so they can take safety precautions. But the move is raising privacy concerns.


operating room in an ambulatory surgery center
Courtesy of Lampert MD

As Florida prepares for a surge in COVID-19 cases the state is reaching out to ambulatory surgery centers for possible help.


Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton
Pinellas County

After a  long meeting that highlighted confusion about the statewide stay-at-home order Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Wednesday, Pinellas County Commissioners voted Thursday to close non-essential businesses in order to comply.

But as they put that plan into effect, officials say they'll seek guidance from the state about the scope of DeSantis' order.

Orange County firefighters hold up signs that read "We stay here for you, please stay home for us."
Orange County Fire Rescue Facebook page

Hundreds of first responders across the state are in quarantine after being exposed to people who may have the coronavirus. And some have tested positive for COVID-19, including a Tampa police officer and firefighters in Sarasota and Orange counties.


Gov. Ron DeSantis
GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE

As cities and counties across the state are putting stay-at-home orders in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to defy calls for a statewide order.

affordable care act website
healthcare.gov

Eleven states are allowing people without health insurance to sign up for Obamacare in light of the coronavirus pandemic. But that may not be a reality in Florida.


Health workers in protective gear collect swabs from patients who drove up to the testing site.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Hillsborough County will open drive-thru coronavirus testing sites at Raymond James Stadium and the Florida State Fairgrounds – as soon as necessary supplies comes in.

Drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in St. Petersburg
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

As Florida ramps up its efforts to screen for coronavirus, it's starting to open drive-thru testing sites across the state. But there's still challenges with supplies and testing availability.


A voter filling in a ballot.
Wikipedia Commons

Concerns about the coronavirus pandemic dampened voter turnout across the state of Florida for Tuesday’s presidential primary election.

With federal health experts warning the country may not turn a corner on containing this virus until the summer, some election officials are preparing for an August election that involves nobody going to the polls.


Tampa General Hospital
Tampa General Hospital

As the country tries to meet the growing demand for coronavirus tests, some area hospitals like Tampa General Hospital are doing their own in-house testing.

Dr. Douglas Holt with the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough briefs county commissioners and local mayors on the coronavirus.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Hillsborough County commissioners declared a local state of emergency for coronavirus, postponed area events -- but not WrestleMania -- and raised concerns about the lack of widespread testing during an emergency policy meeting Thursday.


Dr. Andrew Myers with USF Health and Tampa General Hospital
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

As more cases of the coronavirus are found in Florida, there are questions about whether it is being spread from person to person within the community.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is taking special precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus nationally as it treats a patient who tested positive for COVID-19  in Palo Alto, California.

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