Coronavirus

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is closing all state parks to the public effective Monday.

In the announcement, which came Sunday night, department officials said they tried to keep the parks open with limited operating hours and reduced visitor capacity at the most popular parks.

While bars and nightclubs in Florida are closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19, some Tampa Bay area breweries and distilleries are changing their specialties to start producing and bottling hand sanitizers. 

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

BayCare Health System is consolidating its drive-through COVID-19 testing sites to one high-volume location per county effective Monday.

As Senate Republicans try to push through a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief bill this week, they are doing so without a handful of votes in the closely divided chamber: Sens. Rand Paul, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee.

The first University of South Florida student to be found with COVID-19 was diagnosed over the weekend. The student attends USF St. Petersburg, according to University President Steve Currall.

Currall said in a statement the student is being monitored by the Florida Department of Health’s Pinellas County division and is in self-isolation. The student has not been on the campus since late February.

The number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus topped 1,000, according to the Sunday evening update from the Florida Department of Health.

The total cases - 1,007 – reflect a 237-person increase in just 24 hours. It’s the result in a massive ramp up in testing across the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis said earlier Sunday.

The Florida Department of Health Sunday morning announced one new death and 67 new cases of people testing positive for coronavirus.

Florida now has 830 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths from the virus. Sixty-two of those cases were found in non-Florida residents.

There will be no "shelter-in-place" order for Floridians to stay at home, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday afternoon, although state like New York, California and Illinois are telling its residents to leave home only for emergencies.

People age 50 and older are around 2-and-a-half times more likely to progress to a severe case of COVID-19. That's according to a new study that quantifies the risk factors that increase the odds that people infected with the coronavirus will develop a severe case of the disease.

Updated at 7:39 p.m. ET

The future of a coronavirus aid package that's likely to top $1 trillion is in limbo following the failure of a necessary procedural vote in the Senate.

The measure, which required 60 votes to pass, garnered just 47 votes on Sunday evening, with Democrats refusing to back the Republican-led plan. Democrats are calling for changes to the legislation, including further expansion of unemployment insurance and more restrictions on federal assistance provided to large corporations.

South Florida became the focus of Florida’s fight against COVID-19 this week. About half of the confirmed cases in the state are in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

At least 19 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have suspected cases of the coronavirus. The governor imposed visitation restrictions to protect residents.

WLRN depends on donors to remain South Florida’s leading nonprofit, most trusted source of news and information. Support our mission by giving monthly as a sustaining member of Friends of WLRN or make a one-time donation of your choice. Thank you. Click here to give.

One of the most important things for the public during the COVID-19 public health emergency is access to reliable information from the state government.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday that state officials are looking at the possibility of putting people who test positive for the coronavirus in facilities such as hotels to help prevent them from spreading the virus to family members.

Southeast Asian nations are tightening restrictions on their citizens and banning foreigners outright after many countries this past week reported a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

Vietnam's government says it will stop all inbound flights and bar entry to foreigners beginning Sunday. Vietnam now has recorded nearly 100 cases, according to the Ministry of Health.

The number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Florida jumped by 200 on Saturday, after the state announced 105 new cases during its evening update.

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

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

Florida Legislature
Florida House of Representatives

State lawmakers on Thursday approved a record $93.2 billion budget for next year, with attention already focused on a potential need to revisit the spending plan this summer as the novel coronavirus upends the economy.

laptop next to a stethoscope and patient chart
iStock

Florida’s largest medical association is asking the state’s insurance commissioner to require insurance companies to reimburse health care providers the same rates for providing telehealth services as in-person health care.

Despite one Tampa Bay area politicians' calls for it to shut down for 30 days due to the danger of the oronavirus, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa remains open.

Following the recommendations of experts, staying at home and keeping a social distance is very important to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. It can also be exhausting, especially for the parents whose children are staying home instead of going to school.

This list of resources can be helpful for those families who are running out of ideas of what to do during the quarantine. 

Many small businesses have closed or cut staff due to coronavirus. But federal and state help is available.  

The University of Central Florida is decontaminating a residence hall and classrooms after a student tested positive for COVID-19.

The coronavirus death toll in Florida now stands at nine.

According to information released at 6 p.m. Thursday by the Florida Department of Health, the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state jumped by over 100 in one day.

The Pinellas County Commission voted unanimously to close public beaches and parking areas effective 11:59 p.m. Friday and lasting until April 6th.

In a move to prevent the spread of coronavirus, on Thursday evening Monroe County ordered hotels and other tourist lodging — like vacation rentals and RV parks — to close at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The county cited "the increasing cases [of coronavirus] in the counties north of Monroe County." As of 5 p.m. Thursday, there had been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Keys.

Hotels were directed to stop taking reservations immediately. The order is for two weeks, to be re-evaluated every day.

Employees at the Florida Department of Health, the state agency that is managing the response to COVID-19, are not being allowed to work from home, even if their jobs are involved in research or other kinds of administrative work, several employees told WLRN.

WLRN depends on donors to remain South Florida’s leading nonprofit, most trusted source of news and information. Support our mission by giving monthly as a sustaining member of Friends of WLRN or make a one-time donation of your choice. Thank you. Click here to give.

When Marlins Park opened in 2012, a neomodern shrine to baseball rising in Miami’s Little Havana, Duane Thwaites figured he’d found his dream job.

The Brooklyn native moved to Miami nearly 30 years ago, raised his four kids, got hired for opening day and returned every season, climbing the ladder to supervise a concession.

“It's just hard to explain why I like the job and I stick with it, but it's, you know, I feel it's like my passion,” said Thwaites, 51.

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