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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. Send us your comments and questions about our coverage, and what matters most to you.

This map shows the current coronavirus cases and deaths in Florida.

Sign up for our newsletter to get daily updates and analysis from our team and NPR, and go to our Coronavirus Q&A to submit your questions.

The Florida Department of Health is providing daily updates on the number of people infected in the state. It also is providing a list of things you need to know.

Here's how you can help your children fight boredom while they're not in school.

Check out the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention website for updates and a national map. 

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

The Tampa skyline
Thomas Iacobucci / WUSF Public Media

Hillsborough County could soon be under a weekend and weeknight curfew -- as early as Friday.

On Wednesday, members of the county's Emergency Policy Group unanimously approved setting up a vote for the curfew during their next meeting  at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

The move to limit the spread of coronavirus would set up a countywide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. weeknights; and from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

CATHY CARTER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized Governor Ron DeSantis’ response to the coronavirus outbreak in Florida.

In a statement Wednesday, Biden urged DeSantis to rely on “experts” to help him determine if Florida should go under a statewide stay-at-home order – something DeSantis has yet to implement.

iStock

Homeless centers in Florida are having to turn people away people right now. Some who lost their jobs because of coronavirus are now also losing their chances for shelter.

When Dr. Judy Salerno, who is in her 60s, got word that the New York State health department was looking for retired physicians to volunteer in the coronavirus crisis, she didn't hesitate.

"As I look to what's ahead for New York City, where I live, I'm thinking that if I can use my skills in some way that I will be helpful, I will step up," she says.

Drive-thru testing tent
Courtesy: Hillsborough County

Demand is already high as Raymond James Stadium in Tampa opened this morning for drive-thru coronavirus testing.

In response to COVID-19 Governor Ron DeSantis has made all restaurants take-out or delivery only and closed all bars. He’s also limited gatherings on beaches to no more than 10 people and is asking people 65 and older to stay home.  But state elected officials believe more needs to be done to help stop the spread of the virus. Lawmakers spoke about what they think should be the next steps.

Updated at 2:20 a.m. ET

The Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced early Wednesday that the White House and Senate had reached a deal for an unprecedented $2 trillion spending package aimed at propping up individuals, businesses and the nation's health care system amid the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland made the announcement at about 1 a.m. ET.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal," Ueland said.

A chef finishes plating a dish.
Nineteen61

Downtown Lakeland restaurant Nineteen61 has earned statewide honors for its upscale, modern take on Spanish cuisine. Now it's staying busy and avoiding layoffs by offering family-style comfort food, home delivery -- and even toilet paper.

Nineteen61’s chef and founder, Marcos Fernandez, said some restaurants are having a harder time adapting to this era of quarantine and isolation. Nineteen61 offers its own delivery service, because Fernandez said he wants the assurance that his employees will follow all the sanitary guidelines. They also offer curbside pickup.

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

Preschool children at a table
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

Following the recommendations of experts, staying at home and keeping a social distance is very important to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. It can also be exhausting, especially for the parents whose children are staying home instead of going to school.

This list of resources can be helpful for those families who are running out of ideas of what to do during the quarantine. 

A black and white photo of two musicians on stage, one singing and one playing guitar.
LTX Imaging, courtesy Julie Black

When the state shut down bars last week to help halt the spread of COVID-19, local musicians lost their main source of income, and residents lost their community music venues.

Since many people are already flocking to social media platforms for entertainment while being stuck in their homes, a Pasco County podcaster has decided to stream an entire concert for free on Facebook.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Fresh Take Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday said that Florida's Surgeon General Scott Rivkees will be issuing a new health advisory in response to the coronavirus.

People 65 and older, and anyone with underlying medical conditions, will be asked to stay at home for the next 14 days to minimize their exposure to COVID-19.

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

More than 1,400 people in Florida have tested positive for COVID-19 according to the latest statistics released Tuesday evening by the Florida Department of Health. That's an increase of more than 200 people since the same time Monday.

Twenty people in Florida have also died from COVID-19. That's two more than the earlier Tuesday update.

Sandra Murman and Jane Castor
WIkipedia.com

On Wednesday, an emergency policy group of Hillsborough County officials is expected to vote on enacting an overnight curfew. It comes two days after the group voted down a plan by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor to issue a shelter-in-place order for county residents.

She decided Tuesday to go it alone and issue that order for city residents.

Jane Castor at podium
Facebook Live

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said she plans to enact a stay-at-home policy for the city. It would be enacted Wednesday morning and be enforced beginning at 11:59 p.m. that night.

affordable care act website
healthcare.gov

Eleven states are allowing people without health insurance to sign up for Obamacare in light of the coronavirus pandemic. But that may not be a reality in Florida.


Alsace Walentine, owner of Tombolo Books, stands outside of her store next to a sign that says "Curbside pickup here!"
Mary Shedden / WUSF Public Media

The coronavirus pandemic is not only taking its toll of the nation’s healthcare system, but also its businesses. This week, Florida Matters takes a look at small businesses, which are particularly hard hit.

Host Bradley George spoke with Alsace Walentine, co-owner of Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg and Eileen Rodriguez of the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida.

drive-thru testing for coronavirus
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Starting Wednesday, people who have symptoms of COVID-19 can get tested at Raymond James Stadium.

sign with U.S. Air Force logo and MacDill Air Force Base
Stephanie Colombini/WUSF Public Media

Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base has three positive cases of coronavirus.

MacDill's Commander Colonel Stephen Snelson declared a public health emergency on the base, which is also home to U.S. Central Command, and U.S. Special Operations Command.

Florida's attorney general is announcing an investigation into a report that Norwegian Cruise Lines downplayed the risks of the new coronavirus in “misleading” sales pitches provided by managers.

Updated at 6:13 p.m. ET

The Tokyo Summer Olympics will not begin in late July and instead will be held "by the summer of 2021," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday. The delay comes after an increasing number of athletes and sporting federations called for the games to be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the first time an Olympics has been postponed, though the games were canceled three times, because of World War I and World War II.

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating unprecedented demands for help on virtually every government service in Florida. At the top of the list is the state unemployment assistance program, which is widely regarded as one of the stingiest of any state. 

Florida's State Workers Worry As Telecommuting Lags

Mar 24, 2020
iStock

As Florida adjusts to an unprecedented public health emergency, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has lagged in implementing work-from-home policies for state workers.

Michelle Stark
The Tampa Bay Times

Michelle Stark, food editor of the Tampa Bay Times, has been writing about how to eat well, even when we're eating emergency supplies.

She gave WUSF’s Robin Sussingham, host of The Zest podcast, some tips on what to look for when you’re stocking up for the long haul.

Dentist and patient discussion about planned teeth treatment in dental clinic office
iStock

As COVID-19 continued to spread, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order prohibiting any unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency medical procedures in Florida.

But dentists, like other medical professionals, are still able to see patients in critical condition at this time.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is at the center of attention as the state and New York City have become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

And longtime observers say Cuomo's natural strengths: decisiveness, taking charge, listening to the experts and sticking to the facts — are playing well in a public health crisis.

"He's known as a hard-charging, take-no-prisoners kind of guy," says USA Today network reporter Jon Campbell, who has covered politics in Albany for nearly a decade.

A woman and two men stand in front of a restaurant kitchen.
Cathy Carter

The restaurant industry has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Like many other states, Governor Ron DeSantis recently issued an executive order that blocks Florida restaurants from serving food in their dining rooms.

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

bottles of hand sanitizer
3 Daughters Brewing / Facebook

While bars and nightclubs in Florida are closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19, some Tampa Bay area breweries and distilleries are changing their specialties to start producing and bottling hand sanitizers. 

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

The latest update from the Florida Department of Health shows the number of people in the state who have tested positive for COVID-19 is 1,227.

The 6 p.m. update said that 18 people had died from coronavirus - four more than Monday morning. However, the Department of Health corrected the figure shortly before 11 p.m., saying 17 people had died.

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