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Latest On Coronavirus: Online Classes For Public Universities, And Other Updates

Mar 11, 2020

WUSF will be providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in Tampa Bay and across the state. Here are the latest developments:

Coronavirus In Florida:

23 – Florida Residents | 5 – Florida Cases Repatriated | 3 – Non-Florida resident - as of 11 p.m. Wednesday

New Cases Include Tourist, Tampa Conference Attendee

The Florida Department of Health late Wednesday night announced three new positive cases of coronavirus, including a Broward County man who attended a recent conference in Tampa and a tourist visiting for Bike Week.

The 70-year-old-man from Broward attended the Journal of Emergency Medical Services emergency medical services conference at the Tampa Convention Center last week.

The health department said he remains isolated and an epidemiological investigation is underway.

The department also said a New York resident visiting Daytona Beach for Bike Week tested positive for coronavirus. The 63-year-old man is in St. John’s County and is isolated until being cleared by New York public health officials. Bike Week is currently underway and lasts through Sunday.

- Mary Shedden

Online Courses For Florida Public Universities

All Florida public universities, including the University of South Florida, will transition to online course instruction to lessen the risk of coronavirus.

The Florida Board of Governors announced the change will take place “as soon as possible.”

At universities that are currently on spring break or going on spring break, including the University of South Florida, students should not return to campus for at least two weeks after the break concludes, according to a release from the Board of Governors. [Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

No Fans Will Attend NCAA Tournament Games

NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament games, including those next week at Amalie Arena, will not be played in front of fans due to concerns over coronavirus.

In a statement on Wednesday, NCAA President Mark Emmert said the decision was made “in the best interest of public health.” [Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Access To Nursing Homes Restricted

Florida is limiting access to the state’s nursing homes, assisted living, long-term care, adult family care homes and adult group homes as seniors are especially vulernable to the worst effects of the virus due to underlying medical conditions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis outlined who wouldn't be allowed in. [Read more]

-- Lynn Hatter, WFSU

Kriseman: Grand Prix Is A Go, But If You Don’t Feel Well, Stay Home

For the 16th year, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg racing event is back with its 1.8-mile, 14-turn circuit along the water, sparking concerns about the spread of coronavirus in a time when health officials are encouraging "social distancing."

Mayor Rick Kriseman said the event will continue as planned, but asks sick people to stay home.

"If you're not feeling well, do not come,” Kriseman said. “If you have any symptoms, do not come. If you've been around somebody who is sick, do not come. Watch it on television. Enjoy the race that way." [Read more]

-- Daylina Miller

Three New Cases In Tampa Bay

The Florida Department of Health late Tuesday announced eight new positive cases of the novel coronavirus, with seven of the cases described as “travel-related” and involving Florida residents.

Two are Pinellas County men - a 64-year old and a 67-year old; one is a 46-year old man from Pasco County. [Read more]

-- News Service of Florida

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage On WUSF And Health News Florida

Tampa Launches New Coronavirus Website

The City of Tampa launched a revamped web platform to get important information related to COVID-19 out to the public.

The website, tampagov.net/COVID-19, contains information related to general risk updates, coronavirus symptoms and risk factors, travel information, FAQs, local, state, and federal resources, and more.

“The safety of our residents is our number one priority,” says Mayor Jane Castor. “We want to make it as easy as possible for our residents to find the information that they need to stay safe and stay informed. Tampa is currently at a low-risk level for coronavirus, but this outbreak is still evolving every day and we can’t be complacent.”

City officials are also encouraging residents to text TAMPAREADY or TAMPALISTA to 888-777 to receive real-time text alerts.

-- Mark Schreiner

Biden Nixes Campaign Appearance

Plans for former Vice President Joe Biden to hold a campaign rally in Tampa Thursday have been cancelled in response to the coronavirus public health emergency.

His campaign announced that the appearance – his first in Florida as a 2020 presidential candidate – was scrapped just hours after Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders both canceled primary-night rallies in Cleveland on Tuesday amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus. [Read more]

-- WUSF Staff

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Hillsborough EOC Partially Activated

Hillsborough County partially activated its emergency operations center in response to concerns over coronavirus.

The limited activation means county health officials will take extra precautions in monitoring and educating residents about the coronavirus risk. [Read more]

-- Carl  Lisciandrello

Florida Activates Price-Gouging Hotline

In response to Governor Rick DeSantis signing a state of emergency declaration Monday, Attorney General Ashley Moody activated Florida's price gouging hotline.

The governor's declaration puts protective masks, sanitizing and disinfecting supplies, such as hand sanitizer, gel, wipes, cleaning supplies for surface cleaning, and all commercial cleaning supplies and all commercial cleaning supplies under price gouging protection. [Read more]

-- Mark Schreiner

Another Florida Cruise Cleared To Dock

Another Princess cruise ship has been cleared by federal health authorities to dock in Florida after testing of two crew members cleared them of the new coronavirus and a “no sail" order was lifted.

A Princess Cruises spokeswoman said that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the Caribbean Princess permission to enter port after the tests came back negative. The ship is set to dock today at Port Everglades.

Passengers were ordered to remain aboard earlier this week after U.S. authorities were alerted that two crew members had transferred from a Princess ship in California where a guest had tested positive for the new virus.

-- Associated Press