News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday called a childhood illness tied to COVID-19 extremely rare, despite reports of at least eight confirmed cases in Florida.

As Florida universities face a mid-June deadline to solidify plans for safely reopening campuses in the fall, some school leaders continue to wrestle with questions.

Gavel and a stethoscope
Flickr Creative Commons

Pointing to a notice requirement in medical-malpractice cases, a South Florida appeals court Wednesday ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit stemming from the death of a woman after she was transferred from a hospital to a treatment facility and allegedly did not receive medications.

The Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center
Google Maps

The number of COVID-19 cases in juvenile-justice facilities continued to increase Tuesday, with two more youths and five workers confirmed as positive for the respiratory disease, according to information released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

The number of infected youths increased from 12 on Friday to 14 on Tuesday. The two new cases were at Okeechobee Youth Development Center, which has had eight of the 14 cases.

Four other cases have been at Miami Youth Academy. Meanwhile, the number of infected workers increased from 29 on Friday to 34 on Tuesday.

child receives a shot in the arm

The percentages of kindergarten and seventh-grade children who have religious exemptions from vaccination requirements have reached all-time highs after steadily increasing over the past decade.

A Florida Department of Health report on immunizations for the 2019-2020 academic year shows the rates of kindergarten and seventh-grade students statewide with religious exemptions from vaccinations are 3 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. Both rates are at all-time highs.

an elderly person's wrist
Hal Yeager / Kaiser Health News

The federal government on Monday released guidelines states could follow to reopen long-term care facilities to visitors.

A doctor in a hospital hallway holding a stethoscope

The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council on Friday voted to adopt a set of ethical guidelines for the potential rationing of health care during a pandemic.

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded $15 million in grants nationwide, including to Florida universities, to increase training in telehealth as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A fore sale foreclosure sign sits in front of a house.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he is extending until June 2 an executive order aimed at preventing foreclosures and evictions as people struggle financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

a close up of hands handling a field testing kit for the virus. the hands open a plastic wrapper with a tube inside.
Manatee County Government

The Florida Division of Emergency Management announced Thursday that 10 drive-through coronavirus testing sites and four walk-up testing sites will be closed beginning Friday because of a weather system heading toward the state’s East Coast. 

A walker rests beside a small nursing home bed.

Florida long-term care providers are getting a reprieve from having to pay more than $72 million in “assessments” to the state.

Rick Scott
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

A growing number of Florida Republicans are clamoring for Congress to reject providing an additional round of stimulus funding that they say would go beyond helping state and local governments deal with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

barbed wire prison fence

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday the state has not had a “huge spread” of COVID-19 in the prison system, even as corrections officials reported 120 more cases among inmates and a ninth prison with an outbreak.

Older hand holding another hand

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday said he wants to reopen long-term care facilities so the tens of thousands of residents can once again have visitors, but he offered no details on when that would occur.

The River Church in Tampa hosts a service in March.

As Gov. Ron DeSantis weighs when to move ahead with lifting additional coronavirus restrictions, a report issued Tuesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted how contagious the virus can be in group settings.

The CDC studied an outbreak that stemmed from a choir practice in Washington state.

Adults attended one or two three-hour sessions in early March in Skagit County.

While the report said no one reported having physical contact, choir members sat near each other, shared snacks and sang during the session.

Tampa General Hospital

Hospitals that accept transfers of COVID-19 patients from nursing homes can expect to get paid more during the public health emergency.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

The federal government on Thursday awarded $28.6 million in grants to 47 Florida health centers to expand coronavirus-testing efforts.

Florida Supreme Court

Just a day after hearing arguments in the case, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ordered attorneys to file additional briefs in a battle about whether the state has properly carried out a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

Older hand holding another hand

As the number of deaths in long-term care facilities continues to steadily increase, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday the state will mandate that nursing homes transfer residents with COVID-19 if the homes cannot properly isolate or care for them.

barbed wire prison fence

Approximately 2,300 corrections workers have had to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to potential exposure to COVID-19, Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch said Tuesday.

a stethoscope rests on cash.

The head of a Florida hospital association on Monday sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking that it reconsider the distribution of tens of billions of dollars in health-care funding stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Red and gray 3D model of COVID-19. Looks like a sphere with red trees on it.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Two more youths in South Florida juvenile-justice facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to six, the state Department of Juvenile Justice said Monday.

photo illustration of store fronts in a strip plaza.

As Gov. Ron DeSantis begins to slowly reopen the state, recommendations issued by a task force offer a glimpse into what Florida could look like as it emerges from the coronavirus shutdown.

wooden gavel.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office has reached a $20 million settlement in a probe into whether a major cancer-treatment firm improperly worked with competitors in dividing up care in the state.

A Zoom window that shows several county commissioners.
Screenshot of Pinellas County Commission Zoom meeting.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has cleared the way for county commissions, school boards, city councils and other local-government panels to continue meeting by conference call or video conferencing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

empty bed in a nursing home

With nursing homes and assisted-living facilities among the most-vulnerable places during the coronavirus pandemic, industry officials called Wednesday for the federal government to set up an “emergency response fund” and for government agencies to provide more help with testing for the disease.

barbed wire prison fence

A group that pushes for changes in the criminal-justice system urged Florida Corrections Secretary Mark Inch on Wednesday to expand COVID-19 testing of inmates, noting that nearly half of the prisoners tested are found to be positive for the respiratory illness.

coronavirus testing
Quest Diagnostics

University of Florida officials on Tuesday said they are considering testing 500 to 1,000 students a day for COVID-19 as the school looks at plans to reopen campus in the fall semester.


To encourage more participation in the state’s COVID-19 response, the Florida Department of Health announced Thursday that retired health care workers in good standing can apply to have their licenses reactivated.

empty bed in a nursing home

Florida nursing homes could begin to see additional funds associated with the federal CARES Act beginning Friday, an industry official said.