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Latest On Coronavirus: Cases Spike Over Weekend, 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 Sunday, June 28, according to the Florida Department of Health:

141,075 — Positive Tests | 3,419 — Deaths

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Florida Reports 8,530 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Tops 141,000

Florida health officials reported more than 8,500 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, the fifth straight day the number of new cases surpassed 5,000.

The 8,530 cases are the third highest reported on a single day so far from the Florida Department of Health and reflect an increasingly troubling trend. The positive test results reported Saturday and Friday were the first and second highest, respectively.

The more than 18,000 cases reported this weekend brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Florida to 141,075. The cases reported in the last nine days account for more than 36 percent of all cases reported in Florida since the pandemic began.

In the Tampa Bay region, 1,986 cases were reported on Sunday, bringing the weekend total to 4,601. On Sunday, the state reported the second highest number of cases for a single-day in Hillsborough (871), Polk (329), Sarasota (92), Pasco (162) and Hernando (41). On Saturday, every county except Sarasota saw its highest single-day total to date. [Read more]

-- Mary Shedden

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

'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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