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COVID-19

an illustration that says print the curve flat over photos of medical professionals wearing 3d printed face shields.
Print the Curve Flat Facebook Page/Haley Keim

Shortages are worsening for personal protective equipment like n95 respirators, gloves and gowns - typically shortened to PPE - as coronavirus continues its spread across the country.

In Florida, a state with nearly 5,000 cases of COVID-19 and counting, hospitals and urgent care centers are posting pleas to the community for anything that could help protect them while tending to patients.

Florida saw 714 new people test positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the largest daily increase since the coronavirus outbreak began in the state.

Shelter in place sign
jbsa.mil

There will be no curfew in Hillsborough County, after all.

But starting at 10 p.m. Friday, county residents will be asked to "shelter at home" - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

iStock

A total of 74,021 Floridians filed for unemployment last week, 11 times more than filed the week before. That's according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Hospital building at night
Wikimedia Commons

As the number of coronavirus cases in Florida continues to grow exponentially, some predictive models show things could get bad, fast. Many hospitals are gearing up for a possible surge in sick patients.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE

As cities and counties across the state are putting stay-at-home orders in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to defy calls for a statewide order.

Medical supplies
iStock

As the spread of COVID-19 in Florida increases the load on the health care system, Pinellas and Hillsborough county officials are asking for donations of medical supplies.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hillsborough County Center building
Hillsborough County

An order for everyone in Hillsborough County to abide by a curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. may be voted on as soon as Thursday, after a countywide emergency policy group postponed a decision on Monday. 

The group, made up of county commissioners, three city mayors, the sheriff and head of the county school board. also indicated it may not issue a shelter-in place order for Hillsborough residents right away.

walker next to nursing home bed.
iStock

The state is sending paramedics to long-term care facilities to randomly test asymptomatic staff and residents for COVID-19.

Bull statues on USF Tampa campus
Carl Lisciandrello/WUSF Public Media

State officials made the decision to cancel all in-person classes for the remainder of the school term.  

Schools and universities across the Tampa Bay area are now having to gear up for the transition to online instruction.

STEPHANIE COLOMBINI/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

BayCare Health System is consolidating its drive-through COVID-19 testing sites to one high-volume location per county effective Monday.

USF St. Petersburg
Nicole Slaughter Graham / WUSF Public Media

The first University of South Florida student to be found with COVID-19 was diagnosed over the weekend. The student attends USF St. Petersburg, according to University President Steve Currall.

Currall said in a statement the student is being monitored by the Florida Department of Health’s Pinellas County division and is in self-isolation. The student has not been on the campus since late February.

Florida's coronavirus dashboard screengrab
State of Florida

The number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Florida jumped by 200 on Saturday, after the state announced 105 new cases during its evening update.

Gov. ron DeSantis in front of a podium
Facebook

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday that state officials are looking at the possibility of putting people who test positive for the coronavirus in facilities such as hotels to help prevent them from spreading the virus to family members.

front of publix store
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

As other areas of the economy contract, Publix announced Friday that it is hiring thousands of workers to meet “unprecedented demand.”

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

After opening up drive thru testing for COVID-19 Wednesday at locations across the Bay Area, BayCare is narrowing requirements for testing starting Saturday.

Coronavirus map and dashboard from state of florida
State of Florida

Two more people have died from the coronavirus in Florida, state officials announced at 11 a.m. Saturday and another 95 patients have tested positive.

One of the deaths was in Broward County, where cases of COVID-19 are among the highest in the state, according to the Florida Department of Health. The other was in Duval County. Twelve people have died from the disease in Florida.

the White house
Noah Fortson / NPR

The White House is holding a live briefing on the coronavirus pandemic. 

Colonel Stephen Snelson
Facebook

A Navy sailor assigned to the United States Central Command headquarters at MacDill Airforce Base was diagnosed with COVID-19, an official said. 

The sailor had recently traveled overseas and upon his return, he followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colonel Stephen Snelson, commander of the 6 Air Refueling Wing, said in a Facebook video posted on Friday night.

The sailor immediately went into quarantine at his off-base home and practiced social distancing from his friends and family, Snelson said. When he started showing symptoms, he alerted the Florida Department of Health who tested him, he said.

President Trump has made a lot of promises about actions that his administration is taking to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Not all of them have been exactly on the mark — and some have yet to pay off as advertised.

Naval hospital ships

The president announced on Wednesday that the Navy would dispatch its two hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy, to help treat patients and free up land-based hospitals for coronavirus patients.

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