Inmate Infections, Deaths Soar As Amid Pleas For More Help

17 minutes ago
prison bars
Emiliano Bar

As the numbers of COVID-19 deaths and infections in prisons soar, workers, inmates and their loved ones continue to plead for help from the state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday the Florida Department of Corrections, which is part of his administration, will continue to test and isolate symptomatic inmates. But he did not outline any other measures under consideration to prevent infections among inmates and staff members.

empty classroom
Jeffrey Hamilton / Unsplash

As children throughout Florida return to classrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a Leon County circuit judge on Thursday fast-tracked lawsuits challenging Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s mandate that districts reopen brick-and-mortar schools this month.

As school districts get ready to reopen campuses, the Florida Education Association says the risk to teachers and students is too high.

The teachers union is suing the state over an emergency order which says schools must provide a brick and mortar option for students. A hearing is scheduled for Friday morning.

Thursday’s report from the Florida Department of Health showed an increase of 6,236 people testing positive for the coronavirus in the state since Wednesday's report.

It brings the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 557,137.

Hillsborough County schools Superintendent Addison Davis said Thursday the district's schools will be conducted entirely online for only the first week of school, instead of the first four weeks.

Of the $175 billion in federal CARES Act funding for hospitals that serve the nation's poorest people, about $50 billion has yet to be allocated.

Those who represent Florida's safety net hospitals - charged with caring for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay - say they are counting on a greater share of that funding if they are to stay afloat. 

Palmetto High School building and marquee
Google Maps

The principal of a Palmetto High School says several employees are quarantining for 14 days after being exposed to the coronavirus on campus.

Primary Care Doctors Look At Payment Overhaul After Pandemic Disruption

23 hours ago
Tommy Martino for KHN

For Dr. Gabe Charbonneau, a primary care doctor in Stevensville, Montana, the coronavirus pandemic is an existential threat.

Charbonneau, 43, his two partners and 10 staff members are struggling to keep their rural practice alive. Patient volume is slowly returning to pre-COVID levels. But the large Seattle-area company that owns his practice is reassessing its operations as it adjusts to the new reality in health care.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country has developed a coronavirus vaccine that’s ready for public use — but many scientists are skeptical about its safety.

New Judge Sets Hearing In Florida School Reopening Lawsuit

23 hours ago
Teacher pointing in front of screen
Airfocus / Unsplash

As students in a dozen counties return to classrooms this week amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson has scheduled a Thursday hearing in a lawsuit about Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s mandate that schools reopen campuses.

Teachers Ponder Early Retirement As Schools Reopen

23 hours ago
Miami Herald

Dave Galloway, an Army veteran and sixth grade science teacher in Jackson County, is used to assessing risk in his life. 

When COVID-19 swept over Florida this spring, the 64-year-old refrained from going to church and restaurants. He ordered groceries online. And he made sure to wear a face mask and carry hand sanitizer every time he left the house.

Alachua County School Board meeting

The Alachua County School Board on Wednesday voted to delay the start of fall reopening — again. This is the second time the district has postponed the start of school since July.

Gov Ron DeSantis
State of Florida / From Video

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday warned “policymakers” about problems with COVID-19 data collected and published by the state and said he directed the Department of Health to “remedy” the issue.

During an early evening televised address, DeSantis did not offer details about what he directed the health department to do. But he made the comments after the reported number of COVID-19 cases in Miami-Dade County jumped by 4,141 on Wednesday.

Jasmine Obra believed that if it wasn't for her brother Joshua, she wouldn't exist. When 7-year-old Josh realized that his parents weren't going to live forever, he asked for a sibling so he would never be alone.

By spring 2020, at ages 29 and 21, Josh and Jasmine shared a condo in Anaheim, Calif., not far from Disneyland, which they both loved.

Both worked at a 147-bed locked nursing facility that specialized in caring for elderly people with cognitive issues such as Alzheimer's and where Jasmine, a nursing student, was mentored by Josh, a registered nurse.

The sheriff in a central Florida COVID-19 hot spot has issued a directive prohibiting deputies, staff and visitors to department offices from wearing protective face masks, an order that came as a local mayor and city council squared off over a mask ordinance for businesses.

After more than 100 days without any community spread of COVID-19, New Zealand moved to an elevated alert level Wednesday with news of four new cases and another four probable ones.


Alcoholic beverage licenses of four establishments were suspended by the state Tuesday because of violations of rules aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Florida To Be Part Of CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot

Aug 12, 2020
Associated Press

Florida, which has endured a surge of coronavirus infections this summer, will participate in a COVID-19 vaccine pilot program with the federal government.

State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said Tuesday, during a conference call with hospital officials, that Florida has been invited to be part of a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine pilot group. Rivkees said Florida was one of four states chosen to participate, along with the city of Philadelphia.

Public Health Officials Are Quitting Or Getting Fired In Throes Of Pandemic

Aug 12, 2020
California Department of Public Health director Dr. Sonia Angell

Vilified, threatened with violence or in some cases suffering from burnout, dozens of state and local public health officials around the U.S. have resigned or have been fired amid the coronavirus outbreak, a testament to how politically combustible masks, lockdowns and infection data have become.

Orange Co. Students, Teachers Will Have To Wear Masks

Aug 12, 2020
Juan Carlos Becerra

The Orange County School Board agreed Tuesday to require all students, employees and visitors to wear masks at school. 

Matt Cady with Adult Medicine of Lake County answered school board questions about the Healgen rapid antibody test.
Lake County Public Schools

Lake County Public Schools started a massive coronavirus testing program Monday using rapid antibody tests from Healgen.

The blood tests appear to be used for a diagnostic purpose – which is at odds with recommendations from the FDA, CDC and state Health Department.

WLRN Connects: Paying for Healthcare During COVID-19

Aug 12, 2020

Natalia Jarramillo spent several days trying to get a free COVID-19 test. She wasn't feeling well. She was achy, but didn't have a temperature. She was feeling under the weather, but couldn't go to a state-run COVID testing facility because of the weather.

The state shutdown its testing facilities in advance of Hurricane Isaias. Jarramillo's doctor wanted her tested so she wound up visiting a hospital emergency room. The test was free. The visit was not.

Now she's in quarantine and facing a $250 bill for the emergency room visit.

Many school districts are starting the year online as coronavirus surge eclipses more than 5 million cases in the U.S.

Many parents don’t want to repeat the experience of last spring where online education was for hours a day on Zoom. Forming a pandemic pod of students or private “quaranteam” by an instructor is one way to bolster learning during the pandemic.

But it can come at a cost — financially and socially.

As stressful as it always is for students applying to college, this year it's all that — and then some — for the admissions officials trying to decide whether to admit them. Because of the pandemic, many students will be applying without standardized test scores and several other metrics admissions officers at selective schools have long relied on, leaving colleges scrambling to figure out what else they might consider instead.

A new report says the number of children who tested positive for the coronavirus in the United States increased by 40% in July.

What happens if a teacher or student tests positive for COVID-19? The whole class, and all those in contact with the positive case, will be asked to quarantine for 14 days, the Pinellas County School Board said Tuesday.

The Florida Department of Health reported the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths recorded in a 24-hour period Tuesday.

Statewide, the deaths of 276 people were recorded since the Monday report. The previous daily high was 257 on July 31.

Barely a week after Georgia reopened its public schools amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a school district north of Atlanta has ordered 925 students, teachers and staff to self-quarantine after dozens tested positive for the coronavirus. The district also announced the temporary closing of one of its hardest-hit high schools.

More than three months after its last case of community spread, New Zealand has four new cases of the coronavirus from an unknown source. The island nation, seen as a global exemplar in the battle to contain the coronavirus, moved quickly to identify the source of transmission and halt further spread.

All four cases are members of the same family, who live in South Auckland, the government said Tuesday.

Superintendents Ask State To Address COVID-19 Testing Issues

Aug 11, 2020
classroom scene with teacher at whiteboard
Taylor Wilcox

As Florida schools reopen this month, district superintendents are calling on state officials to address two major challenges: the need for rapid testing for COVID-19 and a statewide plan to handle students and staff members who test positive.