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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 can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Latest On Coronavirus: Fallout Includes Sports And Concerts Cancellations, And Other Updates

One of the latest cases of coronavirus includes a Broward County man who attended a recent conference in Tampa.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

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

Coronavirus In Florida:

27 – Florida Residents | 5 – Florida Cases Repatriated | 3 – Non-Florida Resident  | 2  – Florida Deaths

CORONAVIRUS:  Complete Coverage On WUSF And Health News Florida

Valspar Championship, Other PGA Tour Events Called Off

The PGA Tour announced late Thursday it was immediately cancelling all of its events through April 5, including the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort next week.

The announcement came amid the first round of The Players Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach, and will last several weeks, through the Valero Texas Open. Valspar had been scheduled to start Thursday, March 19,

“At this point – and as the situation continues to rapidly change – the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause,” the Tour said in a statement.

Earlier Thursday, Valspar had announced that it was limiting access to the course to players, media and essential volunteers. It also had called off all of its public events, including a 5K and concert have been cancelled. 

Valspar said there will be full refunds for individually purchased tickets, or if purchased at Publix, they can be refunded at the store where the purchase was made through March 31. The Ticketmaster refund process is still being determined, the tournament said on Twitter.

Seminole County Has Its First Coronavirus Case

Another case of COVID-19 has been added to Florida's total.

Florida Department of Health officials say the latest case is a 68-year-old Seminole County man. He's the first person there to test positive. His case is related to a cruise and tour in Egypt in February and March. Eleven other Florida cases have been connected to a Nile River cruise.

That brings the number of Florida residents who have tested positive to 27.

Another five Floridians have tested positive and are being quarantined elsewhere. Three non-Florida residents visiting the state have tested positive and are being quarantined here.

Two people have died. 

So far, 301 people in Florida who were tested for the disease had negative results. There were 147 pending tests and 476 people were being monitored for the disease.

-- Julio Ochoa

Hillsborough Leaders Talk Coronavirus Testing, WrestleMania At Emergency Meeting

Hillsborough County commissioners declared a local state of emergency for coronavirus, postponed area events -- but not WrestleMania -- and raised concerns about the lack of widespread testing during an emergency policy meeting Thursday.

Commissioners grilled Dr. Douglas Holt, head of the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, saying they want better information to share with residents about where to go to get tested for COVID-19.

Officials also discussed what to do about major events planned in the Tampa Bay area, including WrestleMania 36, is scheduled to take place in Tampa April 5.

The WWE said it's preparing a contingency plan but remains committed to holding the event at Raymond James Stadium next month. Ultimately, it’s up to the county to decide whether to allow it continue. [ Read more]

-- Stephanie Colombini

Sen. Rick Scott, Other Leaders In Self-Quarantine

After a meeting in Miami with President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro Monday, has decided to self-quarantine.

He was alerted by the Brazilian Embassy Thursday that Bolsonaro's communications director had tested positive for coronavirus.

Scott told Spectrum Bay News 9 that he currently has no symptoms. He believes he did not directly interact with the infected person. However, Scott chose to keep himself away from the public. [ Read more]

-- Vanessa Henry

Spring Training Suspended, Opening Day Delayed

Spring training has been suspended and the start of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day will be delayed by at least two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, Commissioner Rob Manfred said the decision “is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, clubs and our millions of loyal fans.”

According to the statement, officials will continue to monitor developments surrounding coronavirus and will “announce the effects ono the schedule at an appropriate time.” [ Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

NHL Pauses The 2019-20 Season

The National Hockey League on Thursday announced it was pausing its 2019-20 season due to concerns about coronavirus spread.

In a statement, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the decision was influenced, in part, by the positive coronavirus test of an NBA player, prompting that league to halt its season on Wednesday. [ Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Rowdies, Vipers Shut Down Play

Two other local sports teams are stopping play because of the coronavirus - the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the United Soccer League and the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL.

The USL announcedThursday that it's suspending play for at least 30 days. The XFL, which was midway through the first season of its relaunch, will not play any more games this year.

-- Mark Schreiner

Spectators Being Withheld From Valspar Championship

Next week’s Valspar Championship will not be played before spectators, officials announced on Twitter.

Only key personal will be allowed at the PGA Tournament, scheduled for next week at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor.

According to the Associated Press, fans are being withheld for the final three days of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, and a source said the policy will be in place for the next several weeks starting with Valspar.

-- Carl Lisciandrello

St. Petersburg Grand Prix Cancels General Attendance, Possibly Whole Race

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, through a series of tweets, announced that the St. Petersburg Grand Prix has canceled general attendance.

Kriseman on Wednesday said the race was still on, but discouraged sick people to stay at home and watch it on TV, and that the situation was fluid and would be monitored.

Kriseman said they are working with promoters and the NTT IndyCar Series for more announcements later on whether the race itself will continue. [ Read more]

-- Daylina Miller

USF Athletic Events Paused, NCAA Basketball Tournaments Cancelled

The University of South Florida, along with the rest of the American Athletic Conference, is suspending all spring sports competitions until further notice. Earlier Thursday, USF said it would be closing all future home sports competitions to fans because of the coronavirus. [ Read more]

-- Mark Schreiner

Kenny Chesney, Cher Cancel Raymond James Stadium Dates; Sarasota Jazz Festival Nixed

Country star Kenny Chesney announced he was postponing the first seven 11 dates on his 2020 Chillaxification Tour, including a May 9 concert at Raymond James Stadium.

"You can't take risks without really understanding the consequences," Chesney said in a news release. "In times of uncertainty, I won't take chances with those I love. I can't imagine, as much as we love being out there playing for the fans, being able to do that through the worry our nation is experiencing."

According to the release, new dates should be in place within six weeks, and those who can't attend will receive a refund.

Cher also announced the postponement of her Here We Go Again Tour, including a Sept. 8 date at Raymond James Stadium.

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Tampa Postpones River O'Green, St. Patrick's Day Parade

The city of Tampa announced on Twitter that it was postponing its annual Mayor's River O'Green and St. Patrick's Day Parade scheduled for Saturday.

In a tweet, the decision is being made "oput of an abundance of caution and after discussing with public health officials." 

-- Carl Lisciandrello

State Orders Commercial Coronavirus Tests

In a press conference on Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami will be among the first hospitals in the state to receive new commercial test kits for COVID-19.

"The turnaround time could be quicker [with these kits] and they would be able to make better use of their resources here at these healthcare facilities,” DeSantis said. Currently, samples need to be sent to state or federal labs.

The governor said he has directed the Emergency Operations Center to purchase 2,500 commercial kits, which should be received this weekend. Once operational, the kits will have the “capacity to process tests for up to 625,000 individuals,” said the governor.


No Visitation At Florida Prisons

The Florida Department of Corrections has suspended visits at all state prisons, as the state attempts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.

In-person visits with prisoners at all facilities have been stopped until April 5, corrections officials announced late Wednesday.

“This decision has been made in close consultation with our partners at the Florida Department of Health and with correctional best practices being reviewed nationwide. We look forward to resuming normal visitation as soon as possible,” agency officials said in a prepared statement.

Inmates will have “access to their loved ones through mail, phone calls and video visitations,” officials said.

-- News Service of Florida

Farnell Middle School Closed For Next 48 Hours

Farnell Middle School in Tampa will be closed for the next two days leading up to spring break after an individual was exposed to coronavirus.

Hillsborough County Superintendent Addison Davis said the unidentified individual has not shown any symptoms of coronavirus, but was exposed to someone has tested positive six days ago. 

Farnell Middle School has about 1,300 students and is located at 13912 Nine Eagles Drive near Westchase. [ Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Coronavirus Case Closes Bishop Larkin Catholic School

Bishop Larkin Catholic School in Port Richey will be closed Thursday and Friday after the parent of a student tested positive for coronavirus.

In a news release, school officials said the parent remain isolated until cleared by public health officials.

The student has not been at school since last Friday, officials said. The student and other family members – none of whom are showing symptoms -- are in self-quarantine per CDC guidelines.

Classes will be offered online Thursday and Friday while the school undergoes a deep cleaning, officials said.

-- Carl Lisciandrello

CORONAVIRUS Q&A:  Send Us Your Questions Online Courses For Florida Public Universities

All Florida public universities, including the University of South Florida, will transition to online course instruction to lessen the risk of coronavirus.

The Florida Board of Governors announced the change will take place “as soon as possible.”

At universities that are currently on spring break or going on spring break, including the University of South Florida, students should not return to campus for at least two weeks after the break concludes, according to a release from the Board of Governors. [ Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Carl Lisciandrello is digital news editor of WUSF Public Media.
Carl Lisciandrello
Carl Lisciandrello is digital news editor of WUSF Public Media.