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Latest On Coronavirus: Yet Another Death Record, DeSantis Says Florida OK On Elections, And More

Jul 31, 2020

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:

470,386 — Positive Tests | 9,007 — Daily Increase | 6,843— Deaths

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida

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Another Record With 257 Statewide Deaths In 24 Hours

Deaths linked to the coronavirus in Florida set another new high on Friday for the fourth consecutive day.

A total of 257 deaths linked to coronavirus were reported Friday by the Florida Department of Health, bringing the total death toll statewide since the pandemic began to 6,843.

State health officials said 1,190 people died in the seven-day period since July 24  -- the highest number of COVID-19-related fatalities for that time frame yet. A total of 848 people died the prior week, statewide.

The number of people killed by COVID-19 in the greater Tampa Bay region this week also reached a new record high, with 252, up from 222 last week. [Read more]

-- Kerry Sheridan

Florida 'In Good Spot' For Elections, DeSantis Says

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday backed the efforts of the state’s elections chief and county elections supervisors after President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of postponing the November general election because of his aversion to “mail-in” ballots.

“I think that Florida will be in a good spot to go,” DeSantis said during an appearance at Space Florida headquarters in Merritt Island.

DeSantis, who had attended the morning launch of the Mars-bound Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter at Cape Canaveral, was asked about elections issues because Trump in a morning tweet continued his attack on mail-in-voting and the potential legitimacy of the election. [Read more]

-- News Service of Florida

Florida Tops 87,000 Jobless Claims Last Week

First-time unemployment claims in Florida fell below 100,000 last week, as the state has recorded more than 3.3 million jobless claims since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated Florida accounted for 87,062 of the 1.43 million claims filed nationally during the week that ended July 25.

The Florida number was down from 108,976 a week earlier.

Only California had more first-time claims last week with an estimated 249,007, which was down more than 40,000 from the prior week.

-- News Service of Florida

Deaths Continue In Florida’s Prisons

Three more Florida inmates have died from complications of COVID-19, bringing the total number of prisoner deaths to 49, according to data released by the state Department of Corrections on Thursday.

The inmate death toll has doubled since June 30, when 24 inmate deaths were recorded.

July has proven to be the deadliest month in Florida’s prison system since the start of the pandemic, with 25 inmates dying since July 1.

-- News Service of Florida

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