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 30, according to the Florida Department of Health:
461,379 — Positive Tests | 9,956 — Daily Increase | 6,586— Deaths
CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida
Florida Records Record Deaths For Third Straight Day
The COVID-19 death toll continues to reach record levels in Florida with Thursday’s report from the Department of Health showing the highest number of deaths recorded in 24 hours to date.
The report shows 253 people have died in the state since Wednesday’s report. The new figure brings the total number of deaths from the virus to 6,586.
The toll is 37 more than the previous record number reported on Wednesday. It is the third straight day that daily coronavirus-related deaths reached their highest numbers.
Pasco County was the heaviest hit of the counties in the greater Tampa Bay region, with 26 people reported dead. The number is more than double the previous death toll of 12 recorded on July 20.
Health officials reported 461,379 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida - an increase of 9,956 since Wednesday. [Read more]
-- Lisa Peakes
State Closes Testing Sites Ahead Of Isaias
With Tropical Storm Isaias expected to lash Florida this weekend, the Division of Emergency Management said state-supported testing sites for COVID-19 will temporarily close at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The sites, which are in 23 counties, offer walk-up testing and drive-through testing. The Division of Emergency Management said a potential tropical storm is expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds that could affect South Florida as early as Friday.
“Testing sites are closing out of an abundance of caution to keep individuals operating and attending the sites safe,” the division said in a news release. “All sites have freestanding structures including tents and other equipment, which cannot withstand tropical storm force winds and could cause damage to people and property if not secured.”
The division said the testing sites will remain closed until it is safe to reopen, with all expected to reopen by 8 a.m. next Wednesday. [Read more]
-- Mark Schreiner and News Service of Florida
DeSantis Extends Eviction Moratorium
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Wednesday that extended the state's eviction and foreclosure moratorium until September first.
The moratorium was scheduled to expire at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.
It's the third time that DeSantis has extended the moratorium.
The order also now says that all missed mortgage and rent payments are due when the borrower is no longer adversely affected by the pandemic.
It also now limits the foreclosure portion of the order to single-family homes. The original order did not have any such restrictions.
-- WUSF Staff
NBA Season Starts Thursday At Disney
The 2020 NBA season restarts Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Walt Disney World.
COVID-19 put the season on hold starting on March 11th.
One big change for the 22-team season: there will be no fans in the stands.
Two games will be played Thursday: the Utah Jazz against the New Orleans Pelicans at 6:30 p.m., and the LA Clippers versus the Los Angeles Lakers at 9 p.m.
Both games will be broadcast on TNT.
The NBA playoffs are scheduled to start Aug. 17, and the final game of the season would be no later than Oct. 13.
Disney has become a hub for restarting sports, hosting the NBA and a Major League Soccer tournament.
-- Abe Aboraya, WMFE
Pediatricians Issue Guidance To DeSantis
As school officials across Florida continue grappling with reopening classrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a major group of pediatricians Wednesday released recommendations aimed at reducing risks to children and teachers.
The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in an 11-page white paper sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis, pointed to “significant benefits” of children going back to school but also said those benefits have to be weighed against the risks. It said that in many areas of the state, “coronavirus prevalence will not decrease enough in the next 4-6 weeks to make the benefits of school attendance outweigh the risks.” [Read more]
-- News Service of Florida
Miami-Dade Schools To Open Online-Only
The Miami-Dade County school district, the largest in the state, will start the upcoming school year with online classes on Aug. 31, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced Wednesday.
Carvalho said the district will evaluate later whether conditions will allow schools to resume in-person instruction on Oct. 5.
The decision came as Miami-Dade County continues to see massive increases in COVID-19 cases, including 20,758 new cases in the past seven days.
Carvalho cited the surge in cases as the reason the 2020-2021 school year will start with distance learning.
-- News Service of Florida
Kriseman Partners With Cuomo, New York On COVID-19 Response
The state of New York is sending the city of St. Petersburg some COVID-19 relief, it was announced Wednesday during a conference call.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said when his state was at its height of coronavirus cases, he asked the nation's medical experts for help.
Then 30,000 doctors and nurses volunteered. Cuomo said that was America at its best.
"It was one of the really powerful experiences of my life,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo vowed to give back, so now he’s sending personal protective equipment, coronavirus test kits, and a team of people to set up a new testing site at Pinellas Community Church. [Read more]
-- Jessica Meszaros