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Coronavirus

News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU:

RESOURCES:

FROM THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH:

If you think you might have coronavirus, call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 866-779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov

Florida Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard
Florida Department of Health

Friday afternoon, the Florida Department of Health reported 54,497 people have tested positive for the coronavirus; an increase of 1,212 cases since Thursday.

The department recorded 136 new infections in the Tampa Bay region.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis is updating the media on the coronavirus outbreak in Florida.

The Florida Department of Health says it’s bringing on more contact tracers to keep track of COVID-19 cases, as the state continues to reopen.

Fried Argues Cabinet 'Left In The Dark' During Pandemic

8 hours ago

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried asserted Thursday the governor and state Cabinet members should have been jointly coordinating the response to the coronavirus pandemic, as a new report showed another 173,731 first-time unemployment claims were filed last week in Florida.

A young man poses with a kitten in a selfie, a young woman in her senior photo
Bryson Jackson, Emily Kemp

 From job loss, to balancing work from home to the isolation of following stay-at-home orders, coronavirus has changed our everyday lives. WUSF is giving you a voice to share those experiences. Today, three graduating seniors share their hopes for what the world will look like in the future.

Columbia, Brown, Penn, Purdue — universities with hallowed traditions, proud alumni and another thing in common: Right now they're being sued by disgruntled students.

The students claim that when campuses shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, they should have been entitled to more of their money back. And the list of institutions facing such challenges is growing, including private institutions and entire public systems in California, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona.

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

University Leaders Approve Plan To Reopen Campuses To Students Amid COVID-19

11 hours ago
Bull statues on USF campus
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

With COVID-19 concerns still pressing on the Fall semester for Florida universities and others nationwide, the Board of Governors approved the State University System’s plans to bring students back to campus.

Covid-19 Testing
IStock

Hillsborough County officials have announced the opening of three more public testing sites for Covid-19.

Gene Early, with the county's department of healthcare services, said they have been working with Suncoast Community Health Centers to partner with the state Department of Health to provide testing in Brandon.

Florida Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard
Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health reported Thursday 53,285 people have tested positive for the coronavirus; an increase of 651 cases since Wednesday.

The department’s daily report showed 95 new infections in the Tampa Bay region.

Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared.

The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person's blood rather than the virus itself.

The tests are finding large numbers of people in the U.S. who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous.

Coronavirus sign at Clearwater Beach
DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Visitors to Pinellas County beaches are no longer required to practice social distancing.

Public pools and playgrounds will also be allowed to operate at full capacity.

iStock

Counties across of Tampa Bay can now operate short-term vacation rentals.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has approved plans by Pasco and Polk counties to accept reservations and check-ins, effective immediately.

Courtesy Creative Pinellas

A recent survey shows that coronavirus restrictions have cost the Pinellas County arts community nearly $5 million in lost revenue. Now there's a new questionnaire aimed to help.

A screen shot of the page in the student newspaper
Seminole High School

Coronavirus brought schools to a halt in March, two months before the end of the year and dashing plans for prom and graduation.

Students at Seminole High School are documenting the effect of coronavirus on their lives and the absences they've endured, through poetry, pictures, and a special supplement to the yearbook.

Mexico Beach was destroyed by Hurricane Michael, but that destruction may have helped spare it from the effects of the pandemic.

Mayor Al Cathey says statewide restrictions on bars, restaurants and retail stores left the town’s recovering businesses and residents largely unaffected.

“We’ve had that for two years - 18 months - that didn’t bother us at all. That’s the way we lived,” Cathey said. “We didn’t have to change anything.”

State revenue was off $878.1 million in April from an earlier estimate as tourism and hospitality-related industries, along with car sales, were grounded by the coronavirus, according to economists.

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

When the federal small business rescue program was announced, Krista Kern-Desjarlais scrambled to research it, talking to her banker and digging online.

Kern-Desjarlais runs two restaurants in Maine — the Purple House in North Yarmouth and Bresca & the Honeybee, a summer-only food stand on Sabbathday Lake. She decided to hold off on that coronavirus rescue effort, called the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP.

Woman speaks at podium with military members behind her
Delaney Brown / WUSF Public Media

A Sarasota clinic that sold unapproved COVID-19 test kits will be giving more than $9,000 in refunds to consumers.

A release from the office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said PrecisionMed Pharmacy sent more than 1,000 text messages to people living in the Tampa Bay area, selling at-home test kits for $85 each.

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has reached a somber milestone: As of Wednesday afternoon, the highly infectious viral disease has taken more than 100,000 lives nationwide.

Florida Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard
Florida Department of Health

As of Wednesday morning, the Florida Department of Health reported 52,634 people have tested positive for the coronavirus; an increase of 379 cases since Tuesday.

The department recorded 66 new infections in the Tampa Bay region.

Universal Studios globe sign
iStock

The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force approved plans Wednesday for both Disney World and SeaWorld parks to reopen.

The number of vaccinations administered to children during the COVID-19 pandemic has sharply decreased, leading to worries among pediatricians about public-health consequences if something isn’t done to reverse the trend.

hurricane damage to a sign and building
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

With the six-month Atlantic hurricane season starting Monday, emergency management officials have changed how Florida will respond to storms as they grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

Two senior pictures of student Rachel Williams
Rachel Williams

High school seniors have missed out on a lot since the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools. Today, we meet Rachel Williams, a senior at Winter Haven High School, who talked about the new perspective she gained.

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

Host Matthew Peddie (on left half of the screen) speaks with Robert Niles of ThemeParkInsider.com (on right half of the screen).
The State We're In/Facebook / WMFE and WUSF Public Media

When the first of Florida’s theme parks reopen next week, Robert Niles predicts they will be taking a cautious approach towards welcoming visitors back.

“On the attractions themselves, that’s a managed environment. Once they enter the queue for an attraction, it’s relatively simple as a concept to keep people spaced apart,” Niles said. “It’s out there on the streets of the theme park where the challenge [arises].”

A demtist sits across a table from a patient with a teeth model.
iStock

Many dental offices in Florida donated personal protective equipment like masks to frontline medical care workers when state orders limited them to just emergency care during the coronavirus shutdown.

Now that they are starting to reopen, dentists are struggling to get needed PPE.

Sara Nelms playing guitar
SRQLive

The toll the coronavirus is taking on all of us can be measured in different ways. Jobs that are lost. The money troubles that come with it. The isolation.

WUSF Public Media wanted to go beyond the headlines and hear from you. Or at least those who filled out a survey form we sent out a while back to see how you're doing in these unique times.

So on this edition of Florida Matters, we're going to hear from several of those people - in their own words, via "audio postcards."

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