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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.

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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

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

Half the country has been personally economically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and overwhelming numbers of Americans do not think schools, restaurants or sporting events with large crowds should reopen until there is further testing, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

President Trump does not fare very well as far as his handling of the pandemic goes. Most Americans, except Republicans, disapprove of the job he's doing, and there are massive divides by gender and educational level.

Amazon Warehouse Picker
Amazon

All the stuff you order online started its journey to your front door at a warehouse. And in the Tampa Bay region, there’s a good chance that warehouse is in Polk County. Polk is ground zero in a distribution center boom. And despite the economic crash, it’s a trend that’s likely to continue.  

Sandra and Chris Miller (left half of screenshot) spoke with host Bradley George (right half of screenshot).
The State We're In/ Facebook / WMFE and WUSF Public Media

It's been almost a month since Florida's schools went entirely online.

Sandra Miller and her husband Chris teach high school in Pinellas County. She keeps adapting English assignments and grading to reflect online learning.

During Trump Visit, DeSantis Says Florida Has 'Thousands' Of Unused Ventilators

Apr 28, 2020
GOV. RON DeSANTIS/TWITTER

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday said Florida has thousands of unused ventilators, prompting President Donald Trump to suggest some of the state’s breathing machines could be sent to other countries that need them during the coronavirus pandemic.

health worker holding containers of donated blood
Ahmed Ardity / Pixabay

The Tampa veterans’ hospital is joining several hospitals in Florida in a national study looking at whether blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can be used to treat patients with the disease.

Structure being built on the water of Tampa Bay
Thomas Iacobucci / WUSF Public Media

The opening of the St. Pete Pier has been delayed.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Hernando County park and beach locations will reopen starting Wednesday.

Pier 60 closed
MARIA TSYRULEVA/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Beaches and pools in Pinellas County will soon be reopened.

Pinellas County commissioners on Tuesday voted 6-1 to reopen beaches, parking lots and restrooms starting Monday at 7 a.m. following public comment both for and against the idea.

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

Despite a downward trend in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks, Florida set a new single-day high in deaths on Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health reported.   

Between Monday morning and Tuesday morning, 83 people died from COVID-19, the largest single-day increase in the state since the coronavirus outbreak began. The previous high, recorded on April 14, was 72.

Duke Energy power trucks
Duke Energy

In what one regulator called a “no-brainer,” customers of four major utilities will get a break on upcoming electric bills as they grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

Debony Hughes remembers driving last week to a national park in the nation's capital where not everyone was practicing social distancing.

"It was a beautiful day; it was really crowded. We noticed that there were so many people without masks," Hughes says, recalling that it made the friend she was with particularly angry. "She started screaming out of the car, 'Put on your mask! Where's your mask!' "

NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that reopening the state after coronavirus-caused shutdowns will be “very methodical” and “data-driven,” and some people might think it is too slow.

Florida Democrats want federal auditors to investigate the state’s flawed unemployment system and a backlog they say ranks among the worst in the country.

Clara Reynolds in front of the crisis center
Twitter

We're all living in a whole new world out there - the world of COVID-19, coronavirus or social distancing. Whatever you call it, it's a world of isolation.

The changes in our daily routines and the resulting isolation can affect people's mental health in a lot of ways. Whether you're home alone, with a sick family member or with kids out of school - isolation can increase stress and anxiety.

So just what is happening out there? And is there anything we can do about our mental health? On this week's Florida Matters, we get a little insight from Clara Reynolds, president and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

Christian Piatt finally got a loan to help rescue his brand-new bar and restaurant in Granbury, Texas.

But it wasn't easy.

He applied through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which is meant to help small businesses threatened by the pandemic. One bank told him it couldn't lend through the program. Another told him he might have better luck elsewhere. The third approved his loan and he got the money.

Now he's wondering: How should he use his $34,000 loan?

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

iStock

The U.S. Census Bureau is in need of more time to get the results of the 2020 count due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Bureau is asking Congress for an additional 120 days to deliver final numbers.

Wilbur Ross, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary, and Steven Dillingham, U.S. Census Bureau Director, said in the statement that though the Bureau is still collecting data online, as well as via phone and mail, they have temporarily suspended field data collection.

graph of  COVID-19 cases in nursing homes
Florida Emergency Status System

The state is now releasing information about the number of patients and staff who have COVID-19 in individual nursing homes.

drive-thru coronavirus testing site
University of Florida

State and local officials are trying to get the word out to the public that anyone who wants a coronavirus test can get one now.

They have lifted restrictions on symptoms and travel history that were previously in place to ensure supplies got prioritized for those most in-need.


Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

The White House released a blueprint for states on coronavirus testing on Monday at a daily news conference it spiked and then revived.

The document presents "key strategic considerations" for states, including their roles, the roles of the federal government and local governments, the private sector and monitoring systems, officials said.

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

There are now more than 32,000 cases of COVID-19 in Florida.

Monday’s report from the Department of Health shows 32,138 have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state; an increase of 610 since Sunday morning.

The Hillsborough County orange and blue logo
Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County opened up a new hotline on Monday for people who have lost their job or have reduced wages because of coronavirus, and need help paying for their housing and utilities.

The numbers for the Rapid Response Assistance Call Center is (813) 274-3710 or (813) 274-6710. It is open to callers from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The county opened a second number Monday morning due to high call volume. County officials are also asking people to be patient when calling.

Elderly people holding hands - close-up on hands.
Pixabay

Nearly 30 percent of coronavirus deaths in Florida are linked to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Residents of these facilities are especially vulnerable to get COVID-19, as are the staff taking care of them.

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

Total positive cases of coronavirus as of 11 a.m. Monday, April 27, according to the Florida Department of Health:

31,290 – Florida Residents | 848 – Non-Florida Residents | 1,088 – Deaths

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Re-Open Florida Task Force has launched a public comment submission portal open to all Floridians.

A dark-haired man in a suit sits before a microphone
Florida Channel/Courtesy WFTV via Live U

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hailed the work by medical professionals in Central Florida to fight COVID-19 Sunday.

DeSantis held a press conference with doctors from Orlando Health, as well as David Strong, the president and CEO of the regional network of hospitals.

Coronavirus antibody tests have garnered attention from officials as a potential tool to evaluate people's immunity to the illness. But the majority of companies creating the tests have had little to no regulatory oversight, according to the chair of the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is criticizing President Trump's effort to withhold funding from the World Health Organization and other steps his administration is reportedly taking to sideline the global health agency.

"It's stupid — it's more than stupid; it's dangerous," Pelosi told NPR.

Dashoboard Of COVID-19 cases from the Florida Department of Health
Florida Department of Health

The number of COVID-19 infections in Florida passed 31,000 Sunday. However, the number of deaths in the Tampa Bay area remained unchanged for the second straight day.

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