Latest On Coronavirus: Over 27,000 Florida Cases, Manatee Lifts Curfew, And More

Apr 22, 2020
Originally published on April 22, 2020 5:39 am

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 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, according to the Florida Department of Health:

27,127– Florida Residents | 9 – Florida Cases Repatriated | 742 – Non-Florida Residents | 867 – Deaths

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Manatee Lifts Curfew

After almost two-and-a-half weeks, Manatee County Commisioners have lifted a temporary local curfew.

The board first voted to enact the measure on April 3. It was in effect every night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

A similar curfew was established in Hillsborough County on April 13-- but it only lasted three days before commissioners rescinded that order. [Read more]

-- Cathy Carter

St. Pete Pride Canceled

St. Pete Pride, one of the largest LGBTQIA celebrations in the Southeast, has announced it is postponing this year’s event due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Originally scheduled for June 26-28, the parade and the other weekend festivities have been tentatively pushed back until the fall of this year, though no date exact date has been determined. 

The announcement arrives as St. Petersburg, and the rest of the country, continues to practice social distancing measures. [Read more]

-- Thomas Iacobucci

Pinellas Pursues Graduation Ceremonies At Tropicana Field 

The Pinellas County School District and Tampa Bay Rays are working to ensure area high school seniors receive a traditional graduation ceremony at Tropicana Field.

The district plans to schedule in-person ceremonies in June or July in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention distancing guidelines. [Read more]

-- Delaney Brown

Castor, Kriseman Foresee Cities Opening Soon …With Conditions

The leaders of Tampa and St. Petersburg spoke to each other -- and their communities -- during a Facebook Live video Monday afternoon.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman both think parts of their cities will be opening up soon.

But they said the conditions -- particularly a sustained flattening or decrease in the number of new positive cases - will NOT allow that to happen on a large scale if Governor Ron DeSantis' safer-at-home order expires on May 1. [Read more]

-- Mark Schreiner

Effect On U.S. Travel ‘Worse Than 9/11’

Travel-related businesses, particularly those in Florida, have taken a hit from coronavirus and the safer-at-home policies put in place.

As a matter of fact, officials with the U.S. Travel Association say the impact is nine times greater than that of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Congressional leaders are now working with the USTA to expand relief efforts to help the embattled industry recover. [Read more]

-- Vanessa Henry

Hillsborough Gets $256 Million For Coronavirus Relief

Hillsborough County has been notified it will receive $256 million from the federal government though the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The county also plans to open on Wednesday three more coronavirus testing sites: at Lee Davis Community Center, South Shore Community Center and Plant City Community Center.

The three new sites will offer drive-through testing, but a vehicle is not required as long as the resident has been pre-screened and meet testing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health. [Read more]

-- Steve Newborn

Jacksonville Mayor Responds To Beach Criticism

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry responded to criticism on Monday that he’s faced since announcing the limited reopening of beaches and parks in Duval County.

“I'm not going to make decisions based on how I think critics outside of this city, or certain news outlets are going to react and talk about us,” Curry said.

Both Duval and St. Johns Counties reopened the beaches Friday on a limited basis for exercise activities such as walking, swimming and jogging, resulting in a backlash from some community members and media outlets outside the region. [Read more]

-- Sky Lebron, WJCT

Immigration Advocates Push For TPS Extensions, COVID-19 Benefits

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has ended protections for immigrants from six countries affected by natural disasters, war, or other dangerous conditions.

In Florida, about 3,000 of the people at risk for losing legal Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, work in the health care industry. TPS allows them to live and work in the U.S. These people will be sent back to their home country when the Department of Homeland Security terminates their status.

Marleine Bastien with the Family Action Network Movement said many TPS holders work in occupations considered essential during the pandemic, like nurses, doctors, teachers and sanitation workers. [Read more]

-- Daylina Miller

Florida Orchestra Season Comes To Abrupt End

The Florida Orchestra on Monday officially canceled the rest of its season, as efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus made public performances unrealistic.

Orchestra CEO Mark Cantrell said in a statement that the decision to cancel more than a dozen scheduled events through May is based on the need to maintain public safety. [Read more]

-- Mary Shedden

Catholic Schools To Finish Online

Catholic schools in the Tampa Bay area are following the lead of public health officials and cancelling in-person classes for the rest of the school year.

Bishop Gregory Parkes on Monday said all 47 schools and early childhood centers in the Diocese of St. Petersburg will conduct online learning only.

Plans are underway to address graduations and final grades. Individual schools will provide details to students and families, a statement from the diocese said. [Read more]

-- Mary Shedden

‘Saddened’ FHSAA Scraps Spring Sports

Pointing to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ announcement that distance learning would continue through the rest of the school year, the Florida High School Athletic Association said Monday that it is canceling spring sports events, including championship events.

“With the evolving threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we must ensure that we do not contribute to the spread of this illness,” a statement posted on the association’s website said. “We are deeply saddened for our student-athletes who have seen their seasons and/or high school careers end so abruptly.

“Our association knows the impact and role high school athletics play in the lives of so many and will continue to work towards the betterment of high school sports. We know this is a trying time, but the health and safety of all is of utmost importance to this association.”

The statement also said that additional eligibility will not be granted for spring athletes.

The announcement came two days after DeSantis said school campuses will remain closed for the rest of the academic year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

-- News Service of Florida

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