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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:

Walt Disney World Resort and SeaWorld on Friday received approval to reopen from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears.

Florida has paid $16,279,852 in contracts to private laboratories for coronavirus testing as of Friday afternoon. The state’s COVID-19 information center tells WFSU “that number includes cost of collection kits and lab testing.”

This story was updated on June 1 to include WHO's reaction from its daily press conference.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said he learned of President Trump's intentions of "terminating" the decades-long U.S. relationship with WHO through Trump's press briefing on Friday.

Students at Florida’s 12 public universities could be returning to campus this fall, according to a new plan approved by the Florida Board of Governors. The universities will use the blueprint to develop individual reopening plans following shutdowns due to the coronavirus.

The head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that a new analysis shows the agency's delayed rollout of coronavirus testing did not hinder the nation's response to the pandemic.

The coronavirus didn't start spreading in the U.S. until late January or early February, the CDC analysis found, and it circulated at low levels for quite some time.

As a result, the availability of earlier widespread testing for the virus would not have been able to spot it, according to CDC Director Robert Redfield.

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.

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

May 29, 2020

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

May 29, 2020
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.

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