Kerry Sheridan

Kerry Sheridan is a reporter and co-host of All Things Considered at WUSF Public Media.

Prior to joining WUSF, she covered international news, health, science, space and environmental issues for Agence France-Presse from 2005 to 2019, reporting from the Middle East bureau in Cyprus, followed by stints in Washington and Miami.

Kerry earned her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2002, and was a recipient of the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship for Cultural Reporting.

She got her start in radio news as a freelancer with WFUV in the Bronx in 2002. Since then, her stories have spanned a range of topics, including politics, baseball, rocket launches, art exhibits, coral reef restoration, life-saving medical research, and more.

She is a native of upstate New York, and currently lives with her husband and two children in Sarasota.

You can reach Kerry via email at sheridank@wusf.org, on Twitter @kerrsheridan or by phone at 813-974-8663.

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.

In June, Governor Ron DeSantis called for K-12 schools to reopen in full this fall, but left it up to individual school boards to figure out how to do that.

In the space of a month, the landscape has changed dramatically. Coronavirus cases in Florida are surging to new heights. But that hasn’t yet stopped local school districts from rolling out draft guidance for reopening, offering a blend of in-person instruction and virtual learning options.

Florida on Saturday reported yet another alarming surge in coronavirus cases, with a total of 9,585 new infections, marking a new daily record high for the state.

Twenty-four more people statewide died from COVID-19, bring the total death toll in Florida to 3,390 since the pandemic began, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The chief executive of Sarasota Memorial Hospital said Friday it’s “scary” how fast COVID-19 cases are rising and that younger patients are increasingly among those hospitalized.

After seeing the number of COVID patients at the hospital dip to eight in May, and even a brief period when the intensive care unit had no COVID patients for a few days, CEO David Verinder said the outlook has worsened.

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.

The coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close about two months before the end of the school year, stripping away many of the common high school rituals such as proms and graduation ceremonies. 

Some high school students even lost family members, like Elijah Seay, 18, who is graduating from Lennard High School in Ruskin.

Every morning at Dover Elementary, near the strawberry fields of Plant City, upbeat music used to blare from speakers outside the front gate. I first met school resource officer Pedro Arroyo there one day in January. He greeted the children as they came in. Many stopped to give him a handshake, a fist bump, or a hug. 

Last week, Hillsborough County Social Services opened up a special call center, designed to help people who lost their jobs or had their pay cut due to the coronavirus pandemic. The county had $15 million in federal funds to distribute, and eligible callers could get help paying two months of mortgage or rent, plus one month of utilities. The call center ran out of money within four days, and has since closed down.

Calls were answered by public library employees like Taynisha Berenguer, who says even though she’s accustomed to people asking her all kinds of questions in her usual role, answering the Social Services line during the COVID-19 pandemic was quite an education.

On Friday, a drug called remdesivir was green-lighted by the FDA for emergency use in hospitalized coronavirus patients after a preliminary trial by the National Institutes of Health showed the antiviral medicine helped them recover about 31 percent faster than patients who received a placebo.

Hillsborough County opened up a new hotline on Monday for people who have lost their job or have reduced wages because of coronavirus, and need help paying for their housing and utilities.

The numbers for the Rapid Response Assistance Call Center is (813) 274-3710 or (813) 274-6710. It is open to callers from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The county opened a second number Monday morning due to high call volume. County officials are also asking people to be patient when calling.

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis floated the idea of possibly reopening some public schools in May.

Florida's statewide teachers' union was quick to urge DeSantis to rethink the opening of schools. Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram said doing so would "threaten the safety and well-being of all on campus."

WUSF asked parents and teachers what they think should be done in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

The Clearwater City Council voted Wednesday 4-1 to close public beaches for two weeks over fears of coronavirus -- but the order doesn't begin until Monday morning.

Florida's Chief Justice Charles Canady late Tuesday ordered state circuit court judges to cancel, postpone or reschedule all but "essential" court proceedings. The stricter measures aim to limit the number of people crowding into courtrooms, after lawyers complained of dangerous conditions due to coronavirus. In addition, one courthouse employee in Miami has tested positive for COVID-19.

Coronavirus has upended daily life, and for those who care for children, it can be hard to know what to say, or how to explain. WUSF’s Kerry Sheridan spoke with Dr. Judith Bryant, a USF professor of psychology who specializes in child development, for advice on answering their toughest questions.

Local public schools are preparing for online learning in case they have to close due to coronavirus.

As the number of coronavirus cases in Florida continues to rise, Congressman Vern Buchanan on Monday said the pace of testing is still too slow and called for more transparency from health officials.

Fourteen patients have tested negative for coronavirus at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, officials said Thursday.

A prominent Sarasota infectious disease doctor has placed himself in self-quarantine at home after he treated a Manatee County man with coronavirus last week, officials said Wednesday.

Local hospitals are preparing for the possibility of a surge in coronavirus cases. At Sarasota Memorial Hospital, officials on Tuesday said about a dozen people are awaiting test results for coronavirus, after testing negative for flu and other common viruses that cause similar symptoms including coughing, fever and shortness of breath.

One of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Tampa Bay area is a patient who has no recent history of travel. 

The man is in his 60s, and is a resident of Manatee County. His name has not been released.

The Sarasota County School Board on Tuesday voted to award a $305,000 settlement to an employee who said she was sexually harassed by her boss.

A decades-old sex abuse investigation into a retired Sarasota pastor is raising questions about Florida's statute of limitations law and how it affects a victim's search for justice.

When police arrested Henry Porter earlier this month, they said they knew about his alleged victims for years. But the statute of limitations prevented them from making an arrest.

Computer simulations have long helped train doctors in complex medical procedures. Now, tens of thousands of Florida teachers and school staff are using online simulators to learn how to talk to troubled students.

Schools across the state are back in session, many with increased security measures and monthly active shooter drills, in an effort to ramp up security in the wake of last year’s deadly massacre at Marjory Stoneman Dougas High School in Parkland. 

Children's recreational sports are growing more competitive than ever, and with that can come big injuries. 

A first-of-its-kind study on children ages 5 to 11 who play recreational sports has found that concussions are the most common injury in this age group.

Going to jail can mean losing everything, including your identification card. Traffic tickets and fines can pile up, and bureaucracy can be tough to navigate. And sometimes, people can’t get jobs, or housing, and end up back in jail.

The Sarasota County Jail has a new program that helps inmates get proper identification before they are released. The hope is that these basic steps will cut down on repeat jail terms.

Hurricane season starts June 1, and now is the time to get prepared, officials said this week.

Beginning in July, Florida police can pull over drivers they suspect of texting while driving. That’s according to a bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis Friday.

Hurricane season may be about three months away, but the city of Tampa already has a plan to help residents after a storm.

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