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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: Increase of 1,000 Florida Cases, Reopening State Parks A 'Low Risk', And More

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
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:

Total positive cases of coronavirus as of 11 a.m. Friday, May 1, according to the Florida Department of Health:

33,829 – Florida Residents | 899 – Non-Florida Residents | 1,314 – Deaths

CORONAVIRUS:  Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida

NEWSLETTER:  Sign Up For Coronavirus Updates From Health News Florida

Increase of 1,000 Florida Cases

The Florida Department of Health confirms 34,728 people have tested positive for COVID-19; an increase of 1,038 cases since Thursday morning – the first time in a week the daily increase has been over 1,000.

A total of 1,314 people have died in Florida from the coronavirus; a daily increase of 46, according to the Florida Department of Health’s 11 a.m. update.

-- Lisa Peakes

DeSantis Reopens State Parks, Cites Low Risk

Florida’s state parks will reopen on Monday, part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Phase 1 of reopening the state.

During a Friday morning press conference at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, DeSantis said the decision is “consistent with his safe, smart, step-by-step plan” to reopen Florida.

DeSantis cited a report by the Department of Homeland Security’s bio defense lab that showed sunlight, heat and humidity could inhibit the growth of the virus. [ Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Restaurants React To Reopening

Florida restaurants and retailers across most of the state got the green light to open indoor and outdoor dining at limited capacity starting Monday. It's Phase I of Gov. Ron DeSantis' plan to re-open the state.

And local businesses across the Tampa Bay area are having mixed reactions to the news. [ Read more]

-- Daylina Miller

Judge Orders Release Of Migrants

A federal judge has ordered authorities to release hundreds of immigrants from three Florida detention centers to prevent a wider spread of the coronavirus.

U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke says Immigration and Customs Enforcement must submit a report this weekend with steps to bring down the centers population from 1,400 to about 350.

The judge issued the order late Thursday after immigrant rights groups filed an April 13 complaint saying detainees with underlying conditions faced greater risk

ICE says seven detainees at the Krome Detention Center in Miami have tested positive. At least eight staff members have been infected.

-- Associated Press

Polk County Parks And Preserves Are Reopening

Most parks and preserves across Polk County have begun to reopen today under social distancing guidelines.

The Board of County Commissioners on Thursday announced areas that can ensure social distancing and professional sanitation practices will be open. [ Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Hillsborough Parks Are Reopening

After they were closed more than a month ago, the majority of Hillsborough County parks, preserves and trails will be reopening within the next week.

County officials said visitors will still need to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and portions of the parks will remain closed – including playgrounds, picnic areas, and kayak/canoe facilities.

Nature preserves will open on Saturday, along with the E.G. Simmons Conservation Park. Several conservation parks, and walking trails in six neighborhood parks, will reopen on Monday. [ Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Tough Questions For Businesses That Want To Reopen

Under phase one of the plan announced Wednesday by Governor Ron DeSantis, a number of businesses in Florida will be allowed to reopen Monday. But one analyst says there are still lots of unknowns.

Rob Hooker is an associate professor at the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business. He says reopening brings risks to workers and business owners alike.  

“Do they have a safe workforce? And how do we know? So there are some things that maybe they want to consider there and some larger sociological issues, perhaps, tied to that as well. How do we certify that people are indeed safe in the workforce, without perhaps violating their privacy," he said.

Restaurants and retail operations will be allowed to operate - but only at 25% capacity. Hooker says that might not be enough for some businesses to turn a profit, so owners might wait until restrictions are relaxed further.  

-- Bradley George

Manatee Beaches To Reopen With Parking Restrictions

Manatee County beaches will reopen  onday under social distancing guidelines, and with restrictions on parking.

Visitors will receive two hours of free parking each day, “to enjoy the beach with minimal restrictions,” according to a news release. Those parked longer than two hours will receive a parking citation and fine.

The parking spaces at the county’s three public beaches will be open starting Monday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Unlike other areas that have opened their beaches just for “essential activities” such as running, biking and fishing, sunbathing at Manatee beaches will be allowed. [ Read more]

-- Carl Lisciandrello

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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.
Lisa Peakes is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on WUSF 89.7.