Florida Department of Health

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 across the state fell this week, while the positive test rate for new cases averaged out to 5.6 percent over the past seven days, according to the Florida Department of Health.

There were 632 fewer people hospitalized due to the virus by Friday compared to the start of the week. Hospitals across the state reported 25 percent of their beds are available and 21 percent of ICU beds.

Dr. Scott Atlas has literally written the book on magnetic resonance imaging. He has also co-authored numerous scientific studies on the economics of medical imaging technology.

Seema Verma stands for photo
Stephanie Colombini / Health News Florida

The federal government is continuing to deploy rapid coronavirus testing machines to nursing homes around the country.

But providers say they're left to secure their own test kits after the initial supply runs out, which is posing problems.

A day after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced they would play their first two games in Raymond James Stadium without spectators, Gov. Ron DeSantis urged the team to allow fans to attend.

“If the Bucs had fans, I would try to go to the first home game. I would,” DeSantis said during a Thursday roundtable in St. Petersburg about bars and breweries. “I am not going to go if other fans are not allowed.”

K-12 schools across the state began sending people home to self-isolate within days of classes starting. Some districts are releasing the names of schools where close contact with a confirmed positive case has occurred, while others are not disclosing this information.

On Tuesday, Florida recorded a jump in new COVID-19 cases after the lab Quest Diagnostics uploaded tens of thousands of test results, some dating all the way back to April. Florida's state agencies then cut ties with Quest almost immediately.

Elder hands clasped
Flickr Creative Commons

Florida’s long-term care industry and a top state regulator are befuddled by what appears to be competing state and federal regulatory requirements for conducting coronavirus tests of visitors and staff at long-term care facilities.

The issue involves whether a rule published by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conflicts with three state emergency rules and a new executive order lifting a moratorium on visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Hot dogs, cold sandwiches and Hot Pockets admittedly aren’t fancy fare.

But low-budget, hassle-free cuisine might be a financial godsend for desperate bar owners who’ve been sidelined for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tavern owners throughout the state hurriedly are rehabbing behind-the-counter operations, adding triple sinks, carving out prep areas and signing up for food-handling training so they can get the go-ahead from state regulators to turn the lights back on.

According to Thursday’s report from the Florida Department of Health, another 3,571 people tested positive for the coronavirus since Wednesday’s report; bringing the statewide total to 637,013.

Thursday’s report shows 469 new positive tests in the greater Tampa Bay region.

Of 65,205 tests returned to the state Wednesday, 6.23 % of those tested for the first time were positive.

Governor Ron DeSantis talked with local brewery owners Thursday in St. Petersburg about their business struggles due to the coronavirus pandemic, and their prospects for fully reopening.

"We started out down 70 to 75 percent in the middle of all of this. We are down less than half now," said Mike Harting, who runs Three Daughters Brewing.

"That confidence is definitely coming back in the consumer," he said.

Hopefully, summer won't end the way it began. Memorial Day celebrations helped set off a wave of coronavirus infections across much of the South and West. Gatherings around the Fourth of July seemed to keep those hot spots aflame.

Now Labor Day arrives as those regions are cooling off from COVID-19, and public health experts are calling on Americans to stay vigilant while celebrating the holiday weekend.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking states to have a plan in place to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as late October — but that doesn't mean an effective treatment will be ready quite so soon.

In separate interviews Thursday with NPR, the chief scientific adviser to the Trump administration's vaccine development effort and the former director of the CDC's office of public health preparedness cautioned that an effective vaccine is likely still months away.

With the annual flu season about to start, it's still unclear exactly how influenza virus will interact with the coronavirus if a person has both viruses.

Just a day after the school district started the school year with distance learning, Palm Beach County commissioners approved their step-by-step approach to enter phase two of the state's economic reopening plan.

Commissioners voted 4-2 Tuesday to send a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval.

Cuba has reported about 4,000 COVID-19 cases and fewer than a hundred deaths. It’s considered one of the western hemisphere’s pandemic success stories.

But it hasn’t been able to subdue the novel coronavirus where it counted most: Havana, where cases suddenly surged last month thanks to what officials say was too many nighttime parties in private houses and increasingly lax attitudes in the capital.

On this Wednesday, Sept. 2, episode of Sundial:

Joan Hipler has been using Facetime to communicate with her mother every day. Hipler is a registered nurse and she used to visit her mother at the Five Star Premier Residences of Hollywood before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Monday night's extension of Florida's rent moratorium signaled another moment of relief for renters while landlords will once again be halted from evicting tenants. For the past five months, Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued late extensions for the moratorium within hours of it expiring.

Updated at 10 a.m. ET Thursday

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked states to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine as soon as late October, according to a series of planning documents sent to public health officials last week.

A CDC spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the documents in an email to NPR on Wednesday. The documents were first published by The New York Times.

Florida Department of Health

On the day after a spike in coronavirus levels due to an influx of previously uncounted positive tests from Quest Diagnostics, the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 returned to the downward trend set in previous days.

Three new studies strongly support using inexpensive and widely available drugs to treat people who are seriously ill with COVID-19. The drugs are steroids, and the research published Wednesday confirms they are proving to be the most effective treatment found to date.

Nearly a quarter of people in the United States are experiencing symptoms of depression, according to a study published Wednesday. That's nearly three times the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

And those with a lower income, smaller savings and people severely affected by the pandemic — either through a job loss, for example, or by the death of a loved one — are more likely to be bearing the burden of these symptoms.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has again extended a moratorium against residential evictions and foreclosures.

He did so Monday night, just hours before a previous extension was to expire, potentially giving another reprieve to scores of financially struggling Floridians who've lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The extension means residents struggling with rents and mortgages cannot be forced out of their homes until the end of the month.

Jeriden Villegas

For Florida businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s a bit of good news: Workers’ compensation insurance costs could go down in 2021.

State insurance regulators have received a rate filing that would reduce premiums next year in the workers’ compensation system by an average of 5.7 percent, which would be the fourth straight year of premium decreases, according to information released Tuesday.

Health Officials Worry Nation’s Not Ready For COVID-19 Vaccine

Sep 2, 2020
Vials of vaccine
Associated Press

Millions of Americans are counting on a COVID-19 vaccine to curb the global pandemic and return life to normal.

While one or more options could be available toward the end of this year or early next, the path to delivering vaccines to 330 million people remains unclear for the local health officials expected to carry out the work.

The Trump administration is ordering a halt on evictions nationwide through December for people who have lost work during the pandemic and don't have other good housing options.

The new eviction ban is being enacted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal is to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, which the agency says in its order "presents a historic threat to public health."

classroom scene with empty desks and some desks with students

Public Health experts have warned that coronavirus cases are likely to show up in schools as they reopen. And while some Florida school districts are reporting COVID-19 cases, others are not.

WUSF is compiling reports that come in from official sources, and what they are sharing with student families and school staff when available.

After shutting down in the spring, America's empty gyms are beckoning a cautious public back for a workout. To reassure wary customers, owners have put in place — and now advertise — a variety of coronavirus control measures. At the same time, the fitness industry is also trying to rehabilitate itself by pushing back against what it sees as a misleading narrative that gyms have no place during a pandemic.

diame mcmillen makes heart sign with hand toward her mom
Diane McMillen

Some families have been able to see their loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities face-to-face for the first time in months, now that the state has approved recommendations to resume visitation.

Some long-term care facilities in Florida will be able to open their doors for visitors as soon as Wednesday, September 2, in Florida.