Coronavirus

As cities and counties across the state are putting stay-at-home orders in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to defy calls for a statewide order.

As the new coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, researchers say the virus is changing its genetic makeup slightly. But does that mean it is becoming more dangerous to humans? And what would the impact be on any future vaccines?

empty bed in a nursing home
iStock

"Social distancing," ending visitation at nursing homes and shuttering nearly all gathering places could have a devastating effect on the people many of the measures are meant to safeguard: older adults, who are already at risk of isolation and loneliness.

coronavirus testing
Quest Diagnostics

States have been given authority to extend Medicaid to help pay the costs of COVID-19 testing for uninsured residents under a federal coronavirus relief measure passed last week.

aerial view of Orlando airport
Paul Thompson / Flickr

Orlando International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York have the highest number of coronavirus cases among TSA officers. Five TSA workers in Orlando have tested positive so far.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said she plans to enact a stay-at-home policy for the city. It would be enacted Wednesday morning and be enforced beginning at 11:59 p.m. that night.

Eleven states are allowing people without health insurance to sign up for Obamacare in light of the coronavirus pandemic. But that may not be a reality in Florida.


On Wednesday, an emergency policy group of Hillsborough County officials is expected to vote on enacting an overnight curfew. It comes two days after the group voted down a plan by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor to issue a shelter-in-place order for county residents.

She decided Tuesday to go it alone and issue that order for city residents.

When the state shut down bars last week to help halt the spread of COVID-19, local musicians lost their main source of income, and residents lost their community music venues.

Since many people are already flocking to social media platforms for entertainment while being stuck in their homes, a Pasco County podcaster has decided to stream an entire concert for free on Facebook.

WUSF will be providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in Tampa Bay and across the state. Here are the latest developments:

More than 1,400 people in Florida have tested positive for COVID-19 according to the latest statistics released Tuesday evening by the Florida Department of Health. That's an increase of more than 200 people since the same time Monday.

Twenty people in Florida have also died from COVID-19. That's two more than the earlier Tuesday update.

Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base has three positive cases of coronavirus.

MacDill's Commander Colonel Stephen Snelson declared a public health emergency on the base, which is also home to U.S. Central Command, and U.S. Special Operations Command.

Cauliflower, broccoli, chicken, eggs, whole milk and dogfood are all things on a normal grocery list.

 

Monroe County is setting up a roadblock to make sure only Keys residents can drive onto the island chain.

As businesses shut indefinitely to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, thousands of workers around South Florida are facing an uncertain future.

The largest drive-through testing site for the novel coronavirus in Miami-Dade County is located at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. The site was opened in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, along with other sites in Jacksonville and Orlando.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed a new kind of essential worker — those who are stocking the shelves and bagging our groceries.

South Florida has started slowing down to stem the spread of COVID-19. The life of the region, with its more than six million people, seems to be inching closer and closer to a standstill.

WLRN is taking a snapshot of life in South Florida in the midst of the pandemic.

The 7-month-old son of a Miami-area ER nurse has tested positive for COVID-19 after he ran a low-grade fever.

Prince Charles has tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and is now in isolation, according to a statement issued by Clarence House, the prince's royal residence in London. The prince and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 72, are currently living at Balmoral Castle, the royal family's estate in Scotland.

"The statement said the 71-year-old prince of Wales is displaying mild symptoms but 'remains in good health,' " NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from London. He adds that Camilla, 72, has tested negative for the virus.

In response to COVID-19 Governor Ron DeSantis has made all restaurants take-out or delivery only and closed all bars. He’s also limited gatherings on beaches to no more than 10 people and is asking people 65 and older to stay home.  But state elected officials believe more needs to be done to help stop the spread of the virus. Lawmakers spoke about what they think should be the next steps.

Leon County is enacting a stay at home order starting at 11 p.m. Wednesday. Law enforcement will disperse crowds of more than 10 people and those who violate the order could face fines.

With schools in Florida remaining closed until at least April 15 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many school districts have begun distributing free meals to children.  

Breakfast and lunch are being given to children 18 years of age or under in a "grab and go" manner. Under federal law, children need to be present at a distribution site in order to receive meals.

Below is a guide to food distribution sites being held throughout Southwest Florida.

In order to get families ready for online learning in Lee County, the school district will be hosting a virtual town hall on Wednesday, March 25.

Over the last week, Lee Schools has distributed laptops and internet devices to families who need them in preparation for online Distance Learning that will begin March 30.

Sally Messenger is a retired hospice nurse. She also has two daughters who are nurses. 

One segment of the economy that’s been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis is the arts.

 

An executive order by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry went into effect Tuesday at 8 a.m. 

At the time of this story's publication, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Florida had risen to 1,412, with St. Johns County seeing its first confirmed death attributed to the virus.

While Duval County Public Schools are working out the kinks of virtual learning that began Monday, St. Johns and Clay are continuing preparations to get their students kitted out with computers and make sure they have internet access at home before classes resume Monday, March 30 in St. Johns and Tuesday, March 31 in Clay.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking President Donald Trump to declare Florida a Major Disaster as the state responds to COVID-19.

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