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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

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

picture of the front of a courthouse
Sixth Judicial Circuit

Florida's Chief Justice Charles Canady late Tuesday ordered state circuit court judges to cancel, postpone or reschedule all but "essential" court proceedings. The stricter measures aim to limit the number of people crowding into courtrooms, after lawyers complained of dangerous conditions due to coronavirus. In addition, one courthouse employee in Miami has tested positive for COVID-19.

state coronavirus dashboard
State of Florida

A Manatee County patient has become the state’s seventh fatality from the coronavirus, state officials announced on Tuesday.

Gov Ron Desantis at podium during a press conference
Facebook Live

Florida students will not return to classes until after April 15, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday afternoon.

Additionally, all remaining testing will be cancelled for the remainder of the school year and there will be no school grades released for the 2019-2020 school year.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri stands in front of a podium next to a sign language interpretor.
Screenshot from Pinellas County YouTube page livestream.

Pinellas County officials are limiting restaurant alcohol sales, a day after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced his city will stop them at 9 p.m.

However, they are keeping beaches open for the time being.

CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Commencement ceremonies at the University of South Florida and other state universities will be postponed indefinitely.

primitive camping tents in a nature preserve.
Florida State Parks

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced on its website Tuesday that while Florida State Parks currently remain open for day use, effective immediately, all Florida State Parks are changing day-use visitation hours to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

stock photo of notebook, pens, glasses, and stethoscope.
iStock

The federal government has approved Florida’s request to waive some long-standing Medicaid rules and regulations as the state prepares to treat poor, elderly and disabled residents who become infected with the novel coronavirus.

As of March 15, the state of Florida has expanded its criteria for coronavirus testing to allow doctors to test at their discretion.

STEVE NEWBORN/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Few delays were reported at polling places in Pinellas County today, even after about 300 poll workers didn't show up this morning over fears about COVID-19.

Governor Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor's Office

Gov. Ron DeSantis this morning announced a number of measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Florida.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

President Trump has proposed sending money directly to Americans to help blunt the economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic, saying it's time to "go big" to boost the now-stalled economy.

Trump said he wants Congress to push through a major comprehensive package to help businesses and workers facing hardships — one of many abrupt shifts the administration has made this week as the scope of the pandemic has come into sharp focus.

iStock

Officials with Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa have been identifying locations to open drive-through testing sites for coronavirus.

a stock picture of the coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus has upended daily life, and for those who care for children, it can be hard to know what to say, or how to explain. WUSF’s Kerry Sheridan spoke with Dr. Judith Bryant, a USF professor of psychology who specializes in child development, for advice on answering their toughest questions.

In the face of the coronavirus worsening across the U.S. and reordering the daily life of millions of Americans, fewer people view the pandemic as a real threat, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just about 56% of Americans consider the coronavirus a "real threat," representing a drop of 10 percentage points from last month. At the same time, a growing number of Americans think the coronavirus is being "blown out of proportion."

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

WrestleMania 36 will not be held in Tampa after all.

World Wrestling Entertainment issued a statement  on Twitter Monday saying it will move the April 5 extravaganza out of Raymond James Stadium to its training facility in Orlando.

DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

As Florida officials try to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the state's voters will head to the polls and cast ballots today in the Democratic presidential primary.

Officials say all are expected to go smoothly despite concerns over the coronavirus.

Tampa General Hospital
Tampa General Hospital

As the country tries to meet the growing demand for coronavirus tests, some area hospitals like Tampa General Hospital are doing their own in-house testing.

Tampa skyline
WIkipedia.com

Hillsborough County is joining the list of cities and counties limiting the hours restaurants and bars operate and how many people can congregate in them at one time.

Late Monday, Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill issued an Administrator Order that will take effect at noon Tuesday.

State charts showing emergency room admission rates
State of Florida

A fifth person has died in Florida from the coronavirus, state officials announced Monday evening.

The person died in Orange County, a release from the state said, but no other details were provided.

woman in front of Tampa city seal
Facebook Live

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced limits on bar and restaurant hours on Monday night in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Gov. DeSantis Announces Loan Program For Small Businesses Affected By Coronavirus

Mar 16, 2020
empty record store aisle with albums on one side
Delaney Brown / WUSF Public Media

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that Florida will offer $50 million in loan programs for small businesses being adversely impacted by the novel coronavirus.

Coronavirus dashboard
Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health announced 19 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number in the state to 155.

man speaking on video.
City of St. Petersburg Facebook

Effective immediately, St. Petersburg is restricting both public and private gatherings to 50 people and will limit late alcohol sales at bars and restaurants in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

WikiCommons

Manatee County Commissioners have declared a local state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes as the total cases in Manatee County climbed to five over the weekend.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

The United States has now begun its first week of widespread school closures and restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses, with the COVID-19 pandemic remaking daily life for millions of Americans. And the White House added new recommendations Monday, calling for millions of people to work from home and to home-school their children if that's possible.

Updated at 3:04 p.m. ET

We've seen pictures of people lining up at grocery stores, Costco and other retailers looking for essential supplies as the coronavirus crisis deepens. Sure, hand sanitizer, spray disinfectant and cleaners are among the most popular items sought out by panicked shoppers. But they're also buying a lot more oat milk and canned goods.

Updated at 4:14 p.m. ET

President Trump announced new coronavirus guidelines for at least the next 15 days, including that Americans should avoid groups of more than 10 people.

In a briefing at the White House on Monday, he also urged people to avoid discretionary travel and going out to bars, restaurants and food courts. He recommended that schools close.

The stricter guidelines marked a shift for the president, who has repeatedly stated that the virus is under control.

"Whatever it takes, we're doing," Trump said.

hand on top of hand
NPR

In addition to such things as travel bans, sports being shut down, and school closures, coronavirus has led Governor DeSantis to place a 30-day ban on all visitations for nursing homes throughout Florida.

But there are some things people can do to remain in touch with loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

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