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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 VA informed student veterans they may become ineligible for GI Bill education and housing funds if their college transitions from in-person to online classes. Congress has quickly passed a fix.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants to look into removing some of the requirements for collecting unemployment benefits as layoffs pile up in response to concerns about the coronavirus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered California's 40 million residents to stay at home indefinitely in the widest-ranging directive so far of any state as it grapples with a growing novel coronavirus epidemic that has killed 150 people nationwide.

The order late Thursday called on people to remain in their homes with exceptions only for essential travel. The move follows similar restrictions issued earlier this week for the San Francisco Bay Area.

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

Seminole Hard Rock building
Seminole Hard Rock Casino

Despite one Tampa Bay area politicians' calls for it to shut down for 30 days due to the danger of the oronavirus, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa remains open.

an open sign
Dmon_21/Creative Commons

Many small businesses have closed or cut staff due to coronavirus. But federal and state help is available.  

Student carrying a backpack
Omar Roque @olroque

The University of Central Florida is decontaminating a residence hall and classrooms after a student tested positive for COVID-19.

coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The coronavirus death toll in Florida now stands at nine.

According to information released at 6 p.m. Thursday by the Florida Department of Health, the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state jumped by over 100 in one day.

video still of beachgoers
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

The Pinellas County Commission voted unanimously to close public beaches and parking areas effective 11:59 p.m. Friday and lasting until April 6th.

Health workers in protective gear collect swabs from patients who drove up to the testing site.
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Hillsborough County will open drive-thru coronavirus testing sites at Raymond James Stadium and the Florida State Fairgrounds – as soon as necessary supplies comes in.

A green lifeguard stand on Siesta Beach, with a few people milling about.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Sarasota and Manatee counties will close all public beaches amid worries about the spread of the coronavirus.

Some people look at the weeks ahead and wonder how they will keep themselves from going stir crazy.

Across the U.S., new restrictions have limited in-person gatherings in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus infection, as concern grows from watching its effects on the hard-hit populations of China and Italy, where thousands have died.

WUSF And Coronavirus Coverage For You

Mar 19, 2020

Daily life has radically changed in the last 10 days. Concerns over the spread of the coronavirus have touched every aspect of our lives and are profoundly affecting how we see our future.

The ramifications of this public health crisis are deep and will probably leave lasting effects on America. WUSF Public Media belongs to a system of independent, listener-supported public radio stations created exclusively to serve local communities. In our case, we are the only local NPR station, which means we adhere to its same high journalistic standards to fulfill our mission.

Updated at 3:37 p.m. ET

The Food and Drug Administration is trying to clear the way to expand the types of medicines or treatments available during the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump said Thursday.

Early trials have begun for a prospective coronavirus vaccine, and the FDA also is working to permit patients to have access to medicines approved for use in other countries or for other uses.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn stressed that the agency is moving as quickly as it can while still following protocol to ensure safety standards are met.

As the coronavirus spreads throughout the United States, businesses and restaurants have closed their doors. People who are used to working in an office are now working remotely. Kids are told they won't be returning to school for some time.

Social distancing is widely encouraged, and is quickly becoming a norm. Despite all the changes to their every day lives, people around the country are finding new routines and ways to entertain themselves.

CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Several malls in the Tampa Bay area are closing temporarily to help stem the spread of coronavirus.

restaurant storefront
Jam's Café Facebook page

Restaurants in Pasco and Hernando counties are offering free food to hungry kids who are out of school because of the coronavirus.

As Florida schools remain closed though at least April 15 to slow the spread of COVID-19, children will be left without their prescribed lunch and breakfast that they are normally given through school programs. In response, some local restaurants have decided to help.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

Hillsborough County is releasing inmates as it prepares for the coronavirus. Sheriff Chad Chronister said the order applies to 164 people charged with minor offenses who cannot make bail.

Bishop speaking to camera
Diocese of St. Petersburg

Calling it the hardest decision he's had to make as the leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, Bishop Gregory Parkes announced Wednesday that he’s suspending all public Mass celebrations in the Tampa Bay area.

Officials are stepping up their warnings to younger Americans about the coronavirus, because they can more easily spread the virus without having symptoms and now because new evidence shows the potential for some younger people to suffer severely from it.

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

Drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in St. Petersburg
Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

As Florida ramps up its efforts to screen for coronavirus, it's starting to open drive-thru testing sites across the state. But there's still challenges with supplies and testing availability.


Governor Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor's Office

Governor Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that supply delays are slowing the state's ability to ramp up testing for COVID-19.

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

Fourteen more people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 328. In addition, an eighth person has died.

The latest death was someone who had previously tested positive in Clay County. No other information was released.

An aerial picture of Clearwater beach.
Pinellas County Marketing and Communications

The Clearwater City Council voted Wednesday 4-1 to close public beaches for two weeks over fears of coronavirus -- but the order doesn't begin until Monday morning.

USF sign
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

A member of the University of South Florida’s Counseling Center in Tampa has tested positive for coronavirus.

Voters in Florida cast their ballots in the Democratic primary during a pandemic that has stunted travel, closed schools, forced millions of workers to stay home and canceled campaign rallies.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

All evictions in Hillsborough County are suspended, effective immediately. 

Updated at 4:18 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered the border with Canada partly closed on Wednesday and the Pentagon said it would join the coronavirus pandemic response with hospital ships, field treatment centers and medical supplies.

A voter filling in a ballot.
Wikipedia Commons

Concerns about the coronavirus pandemic dampened voter turnout across the state of Florida for Tuesday’s presidential primary election.

With federal health experts warning the country may not turn a corner on containing this virus until the summer, some election officials are preparing for an August election that involves nobody going to the polls.


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