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Health News Florida

Since 2006, Health News Florida has provided in-depth journalism on health policy issues in our state.

Health News Florida is a project of WUSF Public Media in Tampa and is heard on public radio stations throughout Florida. It also is available online at http://health.wusf.usf.edu

Florida Prisons See Hundreds Of Additional Coronavirus Cases

2 hours ago

Florida’s prison system recorded 443 new coronavirus cases and an inmate death over the holiday weekend, according to figures released Monday by the state Department of Corrections.

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking during a news conference
Joe Byrnes/WMFE

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he doesn’t think President Trump was trying to minimize the pandemic when he said 99 percent of cases are “totally harmless.”

 A picture of blood being drawn
iStock

Plasma from the survivors of COVID-19 can be a life-saving therapy for those who are hospitalized due to coronavirus, but Sarasota doctors say supplies are critically low and donations are urgently needed.

“We are in desperate need of plasma," said Kirk Voelker, a critical care pulmonologist at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Updated at 11:23 p.m. ET

The mayor of Miami-Dade County has ordered a rollback of some reopening measures as Florida continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases. Florida's Department of Health reported 6,336 new cases Monday, bringing the total to 206,447 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

A new United Nations report warns that more diseases that pass from animals to humans, such as COVID-19, are likely to emerge as habitats are ravaged by wildlife exploitation, unsustainable farming practices and climate change.

Face masks on table
iStock

Businesses in Hillsborough County that fail to enforce rules for customers to wear masks indoors will no longer face criminal penalties.

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

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

According to the Florida Department of Health's Monday report, almost half of the statewide deaths were in the Tampa Bay area.

Of the 22 deaths in the region, eight were in Hillsborough County and nine were in Manatee County; daily high numbers for each county since the pandemic began.

Research is indicating that sewage can help reveal trends in pandemic virus outbreaks, and health officials are taking note.

Add dental visits to the list of services you can book now or shortly as cities, counties and states continue to modify their months-long stay-at-home orders aimed at reducing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

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

Fresh off a Caribbean cruise in early March, John Campbell developed a cough and fever of 104 degrees. He went to his primary care physician and got a flu test, which came up negative.

Then things got strange. Campbell says the doctor then turned to him and said, "I've called the ER next door, and you need to go there. This is a matter of public health. They're expecting you."

It was March 3, and no one had an inkling yet of just how bad the COVID-19 pandemic would become in the United States.

A woman serves a customer in a bar
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

When Gov. Ron DeSantis was making the case to reopen Florida at the end of April, he pointed to data about the coronavirus that was trending in the right direction. 

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

Florida surpassed the 200,000 mark of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday as Pinellas County reported 14 coronavirus-related deaths – the highest one-day amount for the county since the pandemic began.

open-air baseball stadium
Wikipedia

As professional sports like Major League Baseball, the NBA, and Major League Soccer prepare to return to action in Florida, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to reverberate.

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

The Florida Department of Health announced another one-day record number of new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. The state reported that 11,458 more Florida residents tested positive in the most recent 24-hour reporting period, bringing the total number of cases to 190,052.

BayCare Health System is cutting back on non-emergency surgeries in its Pinellas County hospitals to ensure there is capacity for a growing number of severely-ill COVID-19 patients.

screenshot of Florida Department of Health dashboard for July 3.
Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health announced another 9,488 COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 178,594.

Across the United States the coronavirus is once again on the march. On Wednesday alone there were nearly 50,000 new cases — a record. The case counts for each state suggest the disease is mainly spreading in a band stretching from Florida across much of the southernmost states and westward to California, with Idaho and Iowa also in trouble.

But when you use tools to drill down to more local data, the picture gets more complicated — and even more concerning. Here are five takeaways:

It may be time for a statewide lockdown in Arizona and Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis at the podium
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Vice President Mike Pence was in Tampa Thursday for a meeting with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, where the pair discussed the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as the number of cases continued to skyrocket.

So you want to wear a face mask? Good call.

A growing body of evidence supports the idea that wearing face masks in public, even when you feel well, can help curb the spread of the coronavirus — since people can spread the virus even without showing symptoms. That's the main reason to wear a mask: to protect other people from you.

Annette Taddeo listening during a meeting
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Senate Democrats called out state Republican leaders Wednesday amid increasing cases of the coronavirus, including questioning Gov. Ron DeSantis for maintaining Florida is “not going back” on its reopening.

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

Florida set a new milestone in the number of positive coronavirus cases reported in a 24-hour period.

The Florida Department of Health reported Thursday that 10,109 people tested positive for the coronavirus in a 24-hour period, eclipsing the previous high of 9,585 reported on June 27.

DeSantis Downplays Beach Concern Ahead Of July Fourth

Jul 2, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he’s more concerned about people having parties indoors than going to the beach for July Fourth weekend.

Mike Pence profile photo
whitehouse.gov

Vice President Mike Pence will be in Tampa on Thursday to discuss the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Alison Geissler pulled out of the driveway of her suburban home on the outskirts of Tampa, with tears streaming down her eyes. For six years, she drove the 30 miles from her home in the quiet community of Lithia to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Northwest Tampa, where she was a nurse in the cardiac intensive care unit. But this Saturday in late May it would be her final shift at the hospital.

Updated 8:15 p.m. ET

How severe is the spread of COVID-19 in your community? If you're confused, you're not alone. Though state and local dashboards provide lots of numbers, from case counts to deaths, it's often unclear how to interpret them — and hard to compare them to other places.

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

According to the Florida Department of Health's Wednesday report, 158,997 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state - an increase of 6,563 positive tests since Tuesday, and the eighth straight day the number of new cases surpassed 5,000.

illustration of herd immunity
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

As cases of the coronavirus surge across Florida, some suggest herd immunity could be a solution.    

It's the idea of fighting a disease by making a majority of the population immune, and it is often cited as the reason why vaccines are so effective in controlling deadly diseases like polio and the measles. 

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