Nursing Home Task Force Hones Recommendations On Visits

Aug 19, 2020
The Florida Channel

It’s unlikely that Florida will mandate all nursing homes reopen to all visitors any time soon.

Instead, a panel appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis discussed draft recommendations Tuesday to “strongly encourage access” and to “limit barriers to visitation” for two groups: “essential caregivers” and “compassionate visitors.” The recommendations also include that those visitors be tested for COVID-19, consistent with facility testing policies for staff members.

Following two days where the death toll due to COVID-19 in Florida was below 110, state health officials recorded the deaths of 219 people since Monday's report.

That brings the total deaths due to COVID-19 in the state to 9,758.

In its last meeting before schools reopen on August 31, the Sarasota County School Board adopted a stricter mask policy, and heard from local health department officials Tuesday that cases of coronavirus in the area are trending downward.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill made it one week into the fall semester before scrapping plans for in-person instruction.

It's an experience that other large campuses should learn from, Mimi Chapman, chair of the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, told NPR's All Things Considered on Tuesday.

Urging countries to join a global vaccine agreement, the head of the World Health Organization on Tuesday reiterated concerns that, once developed, drugs to prevent COVID-19 might be hoarded by some countries at the expense of others.

Speaking in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a call to avoid "vaccine nationalism" by joining the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility – a pact aimed at ensuring access to such drugs around the world.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit


nursing home residents outside in wheelchairs
Associated Press

A new report says COVID-19 cases in U.S. nursing homes jumped nearly 80% earlier this summer, driven by rampant spread across the South and much of the West.

After keeping the coronavirus under control for roughly five months, South Korea finds itself on the verge of another major outbreak as COVID-19 cases jump to their highest level since March and the capital region retightens social distancing guidelines.

Miami-Dade COVID Numbers Improve, But Business Restrictions Will Remain

Aug 18, 2020

COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations and the positivity rate in Miami-Dade County are dropping. While that’s good news for Florida’s worst-hit county, officials say more work needs to be done.

The 14-day positivity rate in Miami-Dade was at a little more than 12 percent on Monday. The positivity rate is the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19.

Orange County Schools Will Reopen Friday As Planned

Aug 18, 2020
Teresa Jacobs
The Florida Channel

The Orange County School Board voted late Monday night to stick to the plan to reopen brick-and-mortar schools Friday for face-to-face learning. 

That’s after a medical advisory committee recommended pushing back the start date for middle and high schools to Aug. 31.  

The Bolles School has confirmed a “small number of students” on the private school's Bartram Road middle school campus have tested positive for COVID-19.

How Bars Are Fueling COVID-19 Outbreaks

Aug 18, 2020

From the early days of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, states have wrestled with the best course of action for the nation's imperiled bars and nightclubs. Many of these businesses find their economic prospects tied to a virus that preys on their industry's lifeblood — social gatherings in tight quarters.

Richard Corcoran
The Florida Channel

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is urging local school officials to be “very surgical, not sweeping” when responding to coronavirus cases, which he acknowledged are likely to occur as classes resume this month.

“If you have a COVID-19 case or you have symptoms, don’t panic,” Corcoran told school superintendents in a conference call Thursday. “Communicate with everybody, and be open and transparent about it. We are going to have cases, and that’s OK.”

Bartender pours beer
Fabio Alvies

A spokeswoman for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation said Monday it’s still uncertain when bars and breweries can again serve alcohol for onsite consumption.

DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears has been meeting privately with brewers and bar owners over the past few weeks to discuss concerns about widespread shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monday’s report from the Florida Department of Health showed the lowest daily increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases since June 22.

A new survey shows that when it comes to COVID-19, a majority of Floridians believe the worst is not behind us.

Updated Tuesday at 4:11 p.m. ET

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published on Monday is the latest to confirm that the coronavirus disproportionately impacts communities of color in the U.S.

Crowds gathered in the Spanish capital over the weekend to protest an expanded requirement for them to wear protective masks in public as the government tries to combat a sudden resurgence of coronavirus infections.

The pandemic has altered what it means to run a small business, especially in the restaurant industry. South Florida restaurant owners are trying to maintain business while figuring out how to keep their workers and customers safe. One of those owners is Carlos Gazitua.

He grew up watching his grandmother and mother run Sergio’s, the popular Cuban restaurant chain. Now as CEO, he’s facing unique challenges.

“One of the things that they’ve never seen — my grandmother, my mother — was a pandemic,” Gazitua said.

Palm Beach County Mayor Announces New Antigen Testing Program

Aug 17, 2020
Palm Beach County Government

Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner said that a rapid coronavirus antigen testing program, which can give people results within hours, will be made available to the public this week.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Associated Press

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday chose to delay New Zealand’s national elections by four weeks as the country deals with a new coronavirus outbreak in its largest city, Auckland.

The election had been scheduled for Sept. 19 but will now be held on Oct. 17. 

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit


Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Pinellas County’s sheriff has tested positive for the coronavirus, the agency announced on Saturday.

Casey DeSantis
The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis, first lady Casey DeSantis and child-welfare advocates warned Friday about the toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on some families.

In Florida, it’s the best of times and the worst of times, depending on who you ask. Some may also say it’s the age of foolishness—with the number of Floridians opting not to wear face masks during the coronavirus pandemic. As of today, more than 9,100 Florida residents have died after contracting COVID-19. That's a fraction of the 557,000 Floridians who have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic.

The number of reported coronavirus cases in Florida on Sunday fell below 4,000 for the first time since June.

COVID-19 Data Failures Create Pressure For Public Health System Overhaul

Aug 16, 2020
Dr. Sonia Angell speaking and pointing to chart on a big screen TV
Associated Press

After terrorists slammed a plane into the Pentagon on 9/11, ambulances rushed scores of the injured to community hospitals, but only three of the patients were taken to specialized trauma wards. The reason: The hospitals and ambulances had no real-time information-sharing system.

The Florida Department of Health on Saturday reported another 6,352 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday and 204 new deaths.

Top health care regulators in Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration on Friday discussed a limited reopening of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that would not require COVID-19 screening for visitors.

Updated 4:10 p.m. ET

As students return to the campus of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this month, they will be tested for COVID-19. And, then they'll be tested, again.

"We are requiring testing two times per week for access to campus facilities. This is for students, faculty, and staff," explains Rebecca Lee Smith, an associate professor of epidemiology.