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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.

Latest On Coronavirus: Cases Near 18,000, DeSantis Unsure When School Will Resume, And More

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

Total positive cases of coronavirus as of 6 p.m. Friday, April 10 according to the Florida Department of Health.

17,448 – Florida Residents | 9 – Florida Cases Repatriated | 520 – Non-Florida Residents | 419 – Deaths

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And WUSF Public Media

NEWSLETTER: Sign Up For Coronavirus Updates From Health News Florida

Most Florida Deaths In One Day

Florida deaths due to COVID-19 reached a new high Thursday.

The Department of Health’s 11 a.m. Friday report showed 17,531 have tested positive and  390 people have died in Florida due to the coronavirus. Thursday's evening report included 48 new deaths overt 24 hours. That was a new high, and one more than the previous daily high observed April 3. [Read more]

-- Lisa Peakes

Viniks Donate To St Petersburg's Fighting Chance Fund

Jeff and Penny Vinik  are donating $100,000 to help small businesses in St. Petersburg that are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Fighting Chance Fund is an emergency grant that was established this week to assist locally owned and independently operated small businesses.

The gift comes days after the Vinik Family Foundation donated $50,000 to help USF students who are in financial need. Jeff Vinik is a prominent philanthropist, developer and owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

-- Carl Lisciandrello

XFL, Tampa Bay Vipers Suspend Operations

The XFL has suspended operations and laid off its employees.

Employees, including those of the Tampa Bay Vipers, were told Friday of the layoffs during an in-house conference call.

The upstart league backed by WWE canceled the remainder of its season last month because of the coronavirus pandemic, but promised to be back in 2021.  The moves have left the league's future in doubt.

The XFL has eight franchises and played five games out of a planned 10-game schedule. It drew decent TV ratings early on and had deals with ESPN and Fox.

-- Associated Press

Protection For Hillsborough Renters

Governor Ron DeSantis last week put a hold on evictions for apartment renters, but what about commercial businesses forced to close because of COVID-19?

In Hillsborough County, at least, they'll be protected as well - temporarily.

Chief Judge Ron Ficarotta said he reviewed the governor's order and concluded it didn't address commercial mortgage evictions for not paying their rent. So he ordered Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister not to issue eviction notices until further notice. [Read more]

-- Steve Newborn

DeSantis Uncertain When Schools Will Reopen

Gov. Ron DeSantis is on the fence about shutting school campuses statewide for the rest of the academic year, but he said on Thursday some students may return to school sooner than others.

“We’re going to make the best decision that we can, but it may be that not every county is going to be treated the same in this,” the governor told reporters. “There is nothing wrong with that. If the problem is different in certain parts of the state, we should recognize that.”

Florida education officials last month called for all school districts to close their campuses through May 1 in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the highly contagious novel coronavirus. Classes are being conducted online while campuses are closed. [Read more]

-- News Service of Florida

Anxiety Grows As Pandemic Wears On

As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps people inside for a long period of time, many are also seeing their anxiety sharply increase as well.

Consequently, groups like the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and the National Alliance On Mental Illness in  Hillsborough County (NAMI) are seeing more phone calls from people needing assistance.

“We’ve certainly have seen the increase in the number of calls, specifically around COVID-19, to the point that from March 28th to April 3rd, the 1,800 calls we took, 704 of those were for community members needing support related to COVID-19,” said Clara Reynolds, president and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. [Read more]

-- Dylan Rudolph

State To Begin Asymptomatic Testing In Some Areas

Governor Ron DeSantis said on Thursday the state will begin testing asymptomatic people for COVID-19 at sites in Jacksonville, Miami and Orlando to try to better understand how to slow its spread.

DeSantis said the state will take over operations today [Friday] at the testing centers, which had been supported by the federal government, and begin expanding testing.

The Florida Department of Health will develop guidelines, DeSantis said, but the goal is to test asymptomatic residents who have had repeated encounters with infected people.

Florida will be able to offer 800 tests a day, a substantial increase from the 250 tests that were available when the federal government supported the sites. 

Also, the sites have only provided tests to health-care workers, first responders and symptomatic people 65 and older. 

-- News Service of Florida

Crew Member Of Cruise Ship With Virus Cases Dies In Florida

A crew member who was hospitalized after two ill-fated cruise ships docked in Florida with coronavirus cases has died.

A medical examiner said Thursday that the 50-year-old Indonesian man tested positive for COVID-19. His death raises the Zaandam ship’s coronavirus-related death toll to four.

A Holland America Line spokesman says the man was taken to a Florida hospital the day the Zaandam docked in Fort Lauderdale after spending weeks at sea rejected by South American ports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday announced the extension of a “no sail order” for all cruise ships.

-- Associated Press

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I wasn't always a morning person. After spending years as a nighttime sports copy editor and page designer, I made the move to digital editing in 2000. Turns out, it was one of the best moves I've ever made.
After more than 40 years learning and helping others understand more about so many aspects of our world and living in it, I still love making connections between national news stories and our community. It's exciting when I can find a thread between a national program or greater premise and what is happening at the local or personal level. This has been true whether I’ve spun the novelty tunes of Raymond Scott or Wilmoth Houdini from a tiny outpost in a Vermont field, or shared the voices of incarcerated women about what it’s like to be behind bars on Mother’s Day with the entire state of New Hampshire.