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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: Florida Cases Near 20,000, Churches Celebrate Easter Separately, 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. Sunday, April 12 according to the Florida Department of Health.

19,337 – Florida Residents | 9 – Florida Cases Repatriated | 558 – Non-Florida Residents | 461 – Deaths

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And WUSF Public Media

NEWSLETTER: Sign Up For Coronavirus Updates From Health News Florida

Florida COVID-19 Cases Near 20,000

Florida coronavirus cases are approaching 20,000, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The 6 p.m. Sunday update shows 19,885 people have tested positive in the state, an increase of 909 from Saturday night. It's the first day fewer than 1,000 people have tested positive since Wednesday.

In addition, 461 people have died, an increase of fifteen since Saturday night. Among the deaths reported Sunday were an 82-year-old-woman in Pasco County and a 74-year-old man in Pinellas.

Another death was reported Sunday evening in Hillsborough County. Further details were not released. [Read more]

-- Mark Schreiner

Florida Church Members Mostly Worshipping Separately On Easter

Easter is often called the "Super Bowl of Sundays" for churches.

It's a time when Christians and those seeking a spiritual connection flock to houses of worship.  It's not happening much these days, even though Florida officials have classified worship as "an essential activity."

On Easter Sunday, Bishop Gregory Parkes, spiritual leader of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, home to some 480,000 Roman Catholics and 74 parishes across Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk and Citrus counties, delivered the Easter Mass on TV and through Facebook.

Speaking from the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg, Parkes told viewers, "God is always with us, and no matter what difficulties, what anxieties, what fears we may be dealing with at this time, that Jesus Christ will lift us from those." [Read more]

-- Susan Giles Wantuck

Zoo Animals Need Company Too

Naples Zoo President and CEO Jack Mulvena says animals at the closed zoo are pining for visitors. Especially one hungry giraffe called Bruehler.

"Visitors are able to feed the giraffes, and Bruehler is our principle feeder. And with no visitors here, he’s missing out on his romaine," said Mulvena.

An orphaned female panther named Athena, too, is hoping someone will stop by.

"Any time anyone goes near her exhibit area, she just comes out and she wants attention. So yeah, we’re definitely seeing some interesting behavior changes from the animals," Mulvena said. [Read more]

-- Cary Barbor

How Small Businesses Can Get Help

Small businesses that have been forced to close because of COVID-19 are getting some relief. Many Tampa Bay cities and counties are helping lend a financial hand.

Here's a guide to where you can get help.

-- Steve Newborn

Work On I-4 To Be Accelerated

Sections of the massive Interstate 4 “Ultimate” project in Central Florida will see accelerated work as the state takes advantage of a coronavirus-created reduction in traffic.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault said Saturday that work will be moved up a month or two on parts of the 21-mile project in Seminole and Orange counties.

“We should take advantage of this pause,” DeSantis said. “People aren’t able to go to work. Kids aren’t going to school. There’s a lot of negatives involved. The fact that we don’t have as many people on the roads, let’s take advantage of that and try to make some progress.” [Read more]

-- News Service of Florida

Ask Your Coronavirus Questions On ‘The State We’re In’

Join public media stations WUSF in Tampa and WMFE in Orlando Tuesday for an exclusive Facebook Live conversation. You’ll get to ask Donna Peterson, Dean of the USF College of Public Health, your Covid-19 questions. 

t’s all part of a new show, called “The State We’re In” - broadcasting Tuesdays at noon. Each week, we’ll look at how the pandemic is reshaping people and communities along the I-4 corridor. You’ll connect with health care experts, economic analysts, civic leaders and people experiencing the pandemic just like you.

We’re taking your questions now for Dean Peterson here and on Facebook.

Join us on Facebook Tuesday at noon to hear the answers.

-- Mary Shedden

WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online at WUSF.org/give

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.