Coronavirus in Florida updates: Deaths top 600 following deadliest two days on record

Cheryl McCloud and Evan Pflugradt Treasure Coast NewspapersPublished 6:28 PM EDT Apr 15, 2020We'll update this

توسط ABDOOSNEWS در 28 فروردین 1399

We'll update this story throughout the day with the latest news about coronavirus and its effects in Florida.

Following the deadliest day of COVID-19 in the state, deaths ticked up at a slower pace Wednesday. 

Statewide, the Florida Department of Health reported 43 new coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, representing a 7.5% single-day growth as the death toll built to a total of 614. Three-day figures show a 33.2% increase, according to advisory data from the state Department of Health. 

Even worse, the death toll experienced its greatest two-day jump on record Tuesday and Wednesday, thanks in large part to a record 72 reported deaths on Tuesday. Statewide, the death toll increased by 24.3%, 120 cases, in the last two days alone. 

Coronavirus continues to hit the 75-84 age range the hardest, which makes up 33% of the state's death toll. According to Wednesday's evening advisory, 201 in that age range have died. Hospitalizations are most present among those ages 65-74, where 774, or 24% are reported as having been hospitalized.  

Hospitalizations statewide continue to tick up, with approximately 3,249 reported as having been hospitalized for coronavirus. According to the Florida Department of Health, that number may not accurately represent the number of COVID-19 patients currently in the hospital, as some have been released. 

In total, 22,519 have tested positive for coronavirus in Florida. Approximately 214,210 have received testing, with on average, 11-12% of those tests coming back positive per day, per state Department of Health data. 

Florida's Department of Health is not yet reporting figures on how many have recovered from coronavirus. 

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Fewer poor students log on for PBC’s virtual classes, worsening the ‘digital divide’

April 15

Children in Palm Beach County’s poorest public schools are participating far less in online classes than other students, despite efforts to ensure each child has a computer and Internet access at home.

The disparities, revealed in a new school district report, appear to confirm fears that the move to virtual schooling during the coronavirus pandemic would worsen longstanding gaps in how poor and more economically stable students learn.

Get the full story.

'Doesn't make sense': Leon superintendent urges DeSantis to keep schools closed

April 15

As officials at all levels of U.S. government weigh next steps to reopen parts of the country during the coronavirus pandemic, Leon County's public schools superintendent is urging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to keep schools shuttered until summer. 

Currently, Florida schools are closed until May 1. The final day of school in Leon County is scheduled for May 29. 

In a letter Superintendent Rocky Hanna sent to DeSantis Wednesday, Hanna said reopening schools would pose a "serious threat" to a "significant number" of the teachers and staff who are considered to be in at-risk demographics for surviving the virus. 

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DeSantis tells state to speed up I-75 widening

April 15

An $81 million project to improve a seven-mile stretch of Interstate 75, from north of University Parkway to south of State Road 64, has been fast-tracked because of the coronavirus.

The project in Manatee County is part of the more than $2.1 billion in road work Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked the Florida Department of Transportation to expedite as an economic boost amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Severe cuts to commerce and business as the public is practicing social distancing and isolation means roads are cleared of traffic, DeSantis said at a news conference this month. That provides an opportunity to get highway and roadway work completed with little disruption to traffic.

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Gov. DeSantis announces 1 million N95 masks for health care workers

April 14

Gov. Ron DeSantis, an ardent supporter of President Trump, touted his White House connections Tuesday in helping secure 1 million N95 masks for Florida health care workers dealing with the coronavirus.

While a $50 million state bridge loan program shut down after awarding money to only 1,000 businesses out of 38,000 companies that applied, the governor touted results of a federal loan program that is part of the $2.2 trillion aid package approved by Congress and signed by Trump.

DeSantis said $12.5 billion has been approved to help more than 52,000 Florida businesses under the federal Paycheck Protection Program. While acknowledging that no one has received any money yet, DeSantis said, “I think this will be a really strong lifeline for Florida’s small businesses who have been really hit hard by the economic downturn.”

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St. Johns County lawyer says COVID-19 ‘edge of hell’

7:07 a.m. April 15

Malcolm Anthony described COVID-19 as going to the “edge of hell.”

While coronavirus affects people differently, with some showing no symptoms at all, others have died or fought life-threatening symptoms from the disease.

Anthony, a 61-year-old criminal defense lawyer from Ponte Vedra Beach, wasn’t hospitalized. Still, he struggled with COVID-19 and said the experience changed him.

“I’m just thankful I have a life,” he said.

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Elections chief backs mail voting amid national debate

April 14

The next round of elections are still months away, but in the era of coronavirus, it apparently is never too soon to plan.

The Palm Beach County elections department has asked voters to consider voting by mail for the Aug. 18 primary and the Nov. 3 general election.

Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link said eligible voters can already request a ballot now.

Read the full story

Disney World is furloughing 43,000 more workers

April 14

Walt Disney World plans to stop paying wages to 43,000 workers in about a week while allowing them to keep their benefits for up to a year in what is the largest wave of furloughs since the theme park resort closed in mid-March because of the new coronavirus spread.

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It was just another kindergarten lesson. Then Bon Jovi appeared.

April 14

When kindergarten teacher Michael Bonick assigned his students to write about their lives in quarantine, he didn’t imagine it being the stuff of rock ballads.

But he didn’t imagine Jon Bon Jovi in the mix either.

The rock icon wowed Bonick’s Marsh Pointe Elementary students Monday by dropping into their online classroom to incorporate their homework assignment into his new crowd-sourced song, “Do What You Can.”

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Florida doctor temporarily loses custody of 4-year-old daughter due to coronavirus fears

April 14

An emergency room doctor in Miami working at the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily lost custody of her 4-year-old daughter amid heightened coronavirus fears.

Greene told CNN she has worn personal protective equipment at all times while at work, and, per WTVJ-TV, has tested negative for coronavirus.

"We're being very careful," she told CNN. "We use everything we can. I’ve actually worn equipment above and beyond to protect myself and my child.”

She feels as if she's been forced to choose between saving lives and raising her daughter.

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COVID-19 fact & fiction: UF experts on how to safely handle groceries, restaurant takeout

April 13

As Florida braces for a soon-coming peak in COVID-19 cases, food safety, for many, has been top of mind. 

When it comes to safely shopping for groceries, eating takeout and handling food, it can feel like a battle between myths and facts. Can you trust that Facebook post? That Twitter meme? Anything?

To suss fact from fiction on everything from washing produce to drive-thru fast food, a trio of experts from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences reached out to remind us what the data says, and to answer common food-safety questions. 

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Florida's safer-at-home order does not prevent snowbirds from leaving, but can they get home?

April 13

The turning of calendar pages to April is usually the sign for snowbirds to leave Florida in droves for the north.

Unfortunately, the arrival of COVID-19 was missing from everyone's version, leaving  many still here not only wondering what Gov. Ron DeSantis' safer-at-home means for them but whether they can drive back with other states adopting similar measures.

While the governor's order does not prevent them from leaving, health officials are still advising Americans to avoid all nonessential travel. Translation: Don't do it.

To be clear, there are no restrictions on drivers passing through states. Some cities though have placed greater restrictions on nonessential travel so it's important to check before planning a stop.

In an attempt to answer the question, we looked at a few different routes from Florida to examine what a snowbird might face.

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DeSantis junks tested storm briefings playbook. Why?

April 10

In the days leading up to Hurricane Dorian, Gov. Ron DeSantis was as popular as plywood and bottled water. An omnipresent voice on television and radio, the new governor presided over frequent, widely televised updates that provided information on wind speeds, brought in experts on storm surge, advised which Publix stores were open and let people know where to evacuate if the monster struck.

But during the coronavirus pandemic — a longer-lasting and more impactful threat to all Floridians — DeSantis has largely set aside the tested formula for daily hurricane briefings.

Overall, the playbook used during storm threats, which has worked to inform and calm the citizenry from Pensacola to Key West, has been junked during the coronavirus pandemic.

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'Got my blood boiling': Florida nursing homes ask governor for immunity from coronavirus lawsuits

April 11

Florida's largest advocacy group for long-term care providers is requesting protection from lawsuits for health care professionals engaged in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Florida Health Care Association sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this month requesting "immunity from any liability, civil or criminal" under certain conditions for nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities.

The group is the most recent in a series of health care associations seeking legal immunity amid the pandemic, when hours are long and staffing and equipment are short.

Brian Lee, executive director of Families For Better Care, a non-profit group advocating for nursing home residents, said the letter was the equivalent of "asking for forgiveness in advance."

Read the full story.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and some people don't have any symptoms at all. The most common symptoms resemble the flu and include fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some people also develop aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever,  cough, and shortness of breath, the Centers for Disease Control said.

About 1 in 6 people becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing, according to the World Health Organization. If you experience fever, cough and shortness of breath, call your doctor.

Symptoms may appear anywhere between two to 14 days after exposure, with the average patient seeing onset at around five days, according to the CDC.

Symptoms may appear anywhere between two to 14 days after exposure, with the average patient seeing onset at around five days, according to the CDC.
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