Coronavirus

News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

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FROM THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH:

If you think you might have coronavirus, call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 866-779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov

a blue yard sign that says this is temporary.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

As Florida enters Phase 1 of Gov. Ron DeSantis' plans to reopen the state, we take a look back at the last few weeks with scenes from around the Tampa Bay region as residents try to balance everyday life with safer-at-home orders.

photo illustration of store fronts in a strip plaza.
iStockphoto.com

As Gov. Ron DeSantis begins to slowly reopen the state, recommendations issued by a task force offer a glimpse into what Florida could look like as it emerges from the coronavirus shutdown.

A Zoom window that shows several county commissioners.
Screenshot of Pinellas County Commission Zoom meeting.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has cleared the way for county commissions, school boards, city councils and other local-government panels to continue meeting by conference call or video conferencing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clay County is additional testing sites as it begins its reopening.

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

Disruptions to everyday life caused by the coronavirus pandemic are putting a strain on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some are seeking help virtually.


Coronavirus deaths are spiking in the seven counties around the Tampa metro area this week. Over the past three days, there have been 45 deaths across Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco and Hernando counties.

That's more than any three-day span since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

The announcement of Gov. Ron DeSantis' plan to reopen the state amid the coronavirus pandemic has drawn both praise and criticism from a slew of representatives and local leaders across Florida.

Airports in Florida – and across the country – will be receiving a combined $1.187 billion in federal aid for airport safety and infrastructure grants through the CARES Act.

Manatee County has had a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases and deaths when compared to the rest of the state.

According to the Florida Department of Health, as of Thursday afternoon, 55 people in Manatee County died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. That’s the fourth most in the state. Meanwhile, 580 people have tested positive for the virus which represents a 15.4 % presumptive positive test rate, compared to a statewide rate of 8.8%.

Testing for the coronavirus has been very much in the news. The first and most urgent focus is on increasing access to tests to diagnose people with current infections. But now other tests are appearing as well. Antibody tests, which can identify people with signs of past infection, are starting to be available. And a third type of test is on the way.

Here's a quick guide to sorting out the pluses and minuses to each type of test.

President Trump Thursday announced the formation of an independent commission to look at the response of nursing homes to the coronavirus. The move comes as nursing home operators clamor for more equipment and testing.

Updated on Friday at 7:36 p.m. ET

Most of the nation's airlines are beginning to require passengers to wear face coverings or masks on flights to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Southwest and Alaska Airlines announced Friday they will join American, Delta, United, Frontier and JetBlue in taking the action amid growing pressure from Congress and their own employees.

empty bed in a nursing home
iStock

With nursing homes and assisted-living facilities among the most-vulnerable places during the coronavirus pandemic, industry officials called Wednesday for the federal government to set up an “emergency response fund” and for government agencies to provide more help with testing for the disease.

barbed wire prison fence
WMFE

A group that pushes for changes in the criminal-justice system urged Florida Corrections Secretary Mark Inch on Wednesday to expand COVID-19 testing of inmates, noting that nearly half of the prisoners tested are found to be positive for the respiratory illness.

Free Clinics Try To Fill Gaps As COVID Sweeps Away Job-Based Insurance

Apr 30, 2020
Michaela Morris / Kaiser Health News

Joe Delbert hadn’t needed the Tree of Life Free Clinic in three years.

The 55-year-old man, who moved to Tupelo from Georgia to take care of his dying father nearly four years ago, found manufacturing work that came with health insurance. But last month, he joined 26 million other Americans who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 in the past five weeks.

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