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Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET

Georgia is set to open up lots of businesses Friday — despite not meeting the benchmarks to move into phase one of the White House's reopening guidelines.

In early February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was looking for ways to stop the novel coronavirus before it got out of control in the United States.

A majority of Americans — 8 in 10 — say strict shelter-in-place guidelines are worth it, to keep people safe from COVID-19 and control the spread of the virus, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll. The same percentage, of around 80% of Americans, also say they can follow the restrictions for at least one more month.

The Other COVID Risks: How Race, Income, ZIP Code Influence Who Lives Or Dies

Apr 23, 2020
Courtesy of the Rollins family

It started with a headache in late March. Then came the body aches.

At first, Shalondra Rollins’ doctor thought it was the flu. By April 7, three days after she was finally diagnosed with COVID-19, the 38-year-old teaching assistant told her mom she was feeling winded. Within an hour, she was in an ambulance, conscious but struggling to breathe, bound for a hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.

a close up of coronavirus testing tubes in a box.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida will be able to increase by 18,000 a day the number of COVID-19 tests that can be processed, after the state signed contracts with two additional testing companies, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.

A doctor in a hospital hallway holding a stethoscope

Hospital representatives play a key role in a panel Gov. Ron DeSantis has assembled to offer input about reopening the health-care system and other parts of the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. is calling on China to permanently shut down the country's wet markets, where the deadly coronavirus is thought to have first emerged late last year, as Australia urged an international scientific investigation of the health risks associated with them.

Florida A & M University will be testing residents for COVID-19 starting this Saturday at the Bragg Stadium parking lot. A physician's referral is not needed.

State leaders on Governor Ron DeSantis’ ‘Re-Open Florida’ task force have set a goal for the group:  Providing ‘parameters’ to businesses and school districts that would be pre-requisites for re-opening.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is defending areas like Jacksonville and Duval County that decided to reopen beaches.

Businesses wants legislators to limit coronavirus related lawsuits unless there is intentional misconduct.  AJ de Moya is the Vice President of The de Moya Group, Incorporated, a highway and bridge construction company. He’s part of the Governors Reopening Task Force. He says one legislator is already looking into the issue.

Outbreaks of the coronavirus have forced some of the nation's homeless shelters to close. But Tallahassee's Kearney Center was likely the first in the country to move all its residents before infection occured.

Fear of getting the coronavirus - or a misplaced desire not to overburden area hospitals - are causing problems for Tallahassee's emergency rooms. 

Universal Studios CEO John Sprouls says when the amusement park reopens, attendance will be capped. He’s part of the task force put together by Governor Ron DeSantis looking into how to reopen the state.  Sprouls says he wants to make sure park visitors can maintain social distancing.

The Gadsden County Commission adopted a resolution Friday requiring everyone in the county to wear a cloth facemask when out in certain public spaces.

There were 43 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gadsden at the end of last week when the board approved its resolution, and that number grew to 56 by Monday morning.

Commissioner Anthony Viegbisie says the rule applies in spaces where people would be in close proximity.

A shipment of one million N95 masks to Miami-Dade County firefighters was confiscated by the federal government last week, say top Miami-Dade officials.

The move came just as county firefighters ramped up a program to begin at-home COVID-19 testing for Miami-Dade residents who are homebound and cannot make it to drive-thru testing sites.