Latest On Coronavirus: First Hernando Death, Hillsborough Schools Likely Won't Return, And More - WUSF Public Media | Tampa NPR, Local News Coverage

Latest On Coronavirus: First Hernando Death, Hillsborough Schools Likely Won’t Return, And More

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. Tuesday, Aprl 7 according to the Florida Department of Health.

14, 302 – Florida Residents | 9 – Florida Cases Repatriated | 445 – Non-Florida Residents | 296 – Deaths

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And WUSF Public Media 

NEWSLETTER: Sign Up For Coronavirus Updates From Health News Florida

Florida Death Toll Now At 296

COVID-19 infections show no signs of slowing in Florida.

Tuesday evening’s report from the Florida Department of Health said 14,747 people have tested positive statewide.

The state death toll from the coronavirus now stands at 296, including the first death in Hernando County — a 46 year-old woman with a history of travel and contact with another infected person. [read more]

— Lisa Peakes

Hillsborough Online Learning Likely Till End Of School Year

Public and charter K-12 schools around the state are conducting classes online through May 1 due to COVID-19.

Hillsborough County Schools superintendent Addison Davis is indicating that may be the way it is for the rest of the school year.

Davis appeared on Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s daily Facebook Live Monday.

While Florida Department of Education officials have not said anything yet about ending in-person classes, Davis told Castor he sees signs that will happen.

“We started this process, I think it was mid-March, and it was always in a two-week phase – we’re going to come back on March 27, and then here we go, we push it out to April 15, and now we’re out to May 1,” he said. [Read more]

— Mark Schreiner

St. Petersburg Police Officer Tests Positive

A member of the St. Petersburg Police Department is the second to test positive for COVID-19.

According to a release, the officer became ill after taking vacation and before returning to work.

He has not been on duty and has not had contact with anyone in the department since March 10, the release said.

— Carl Lisciandrello

Florida Prepaid Plan Deferring Payments

The Florida Prepaid college program is deferring payments due to the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

In an email to customers, Kevin Thompson, the executive director of the Florida Prepaid College Board, said the program is deferring payments due in April, May and June.

Payments will resume in July, the email read, and customers’ payment schedules will be extended by three months.

Visit the Florida Prepaid website for details.

— Carl Lisciandrello

Florida’s Coronavirus Peak Expected April 21

Florida’s projected peak of COVID-19 cases is now expected to come sooner. Researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now say Florida will have its peak April 21, with 242 people dying in a single day.

Previous projections had the peak happening on May 3rd.

IHME Founder Dr. Christopher Murray said Florida’s peak will be sooner because of changes in their model – and because Florida had a one-day spike that tapered off. [Read more]

— Abe Aboraya, WMFE

Move To Protect Small Businesses

Hillsborough County officials moved Monday to make sure small businesses that can’t pay their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic won’t get evicted.

Gov. Ron DeSantis last week decreed that apartment renters who have lost their livelihoods and can’t make their monthly payments won’t be thrown out of their homes. But what about the scores of small businesses that have been deemed “non-essential” and were forced to close?

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman said she has been getting complaints from several such business owners.

“Some of these landlords are trying to evict their people that rent from them. They’re trying to evict them. So I think we want to try to help them as much as we can,” she told members of the Hillsborough Emergency Policy Group.

The group’s members voted unanimously to send a letter to the governor to ask him whether commercial renters were part of his executive order last week. [Read more]

— Steve Newborn

Share Your Covid-19 Story

It’s a difficult time for many families right now, especially for those of COVID-19 patients needing to distance from loved ones.

Are you having to isolate because you’ve contracted the virus? Or have you been staying in contact with a family member who is?

WUSF wants to give you a voice, and help tell your story. Answer a few questions below and we may contact you for an upcoming story. [Read more]

— Mary Shedden

Dozens On Cruise Ship Still Waiting To Disembark

Dozens of Americans aboard a cruise ship that recently docked in Miami with coronavirus cases are still waiting to disembark because of new federal rules requiring cruise companies to bring them directly home to avoid more infections.

Two passengers died before the Coral Princess ship docked Saturday in Miami and a third died at a hospital. At least 17 passengers have been taken to hospitals.

The Miami-Dade mayor said many foreign passengers have disembarked and been taken to the Miami airport where charter planes were ready to fly them abroad. But many of the 250 Americans on board continued to wait, two days after docking.

— Associated Press

State Says It’s Addressing Unemployment Website Woes

Florida has added capacity in staff and technology for its beleaguered unemployment website, which had problems even before an unprecedented surge of applicants thrown out of work by the coronavirus.

Florida has added capacity in staff and technology for its beleaguered unemployment website, which had problems even before an unprecedented surge of applicants thrown out of work by the coronavirus.

Most of those people have been frustrated with the problematic state website, which couldn’t handle the sudden increase in traffic. [Read more]

— Nancy Klingener, WLRN

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