Latest On Coronavirus: Florida's Deadliest Day, Manatee Passes Mask Ordinance, And More - WUSF Public Media | Tampa NPR, Local News Coverage

Latest On Coronavirus: Florida’s Deadliest Day, Manatee Passes Mask Ordinance, 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:

Here are the latest figures as of Tuesday, July 28, according to the Florida Department of Health:

441,977 — Positive Tests | 9,230 — Daily Increase | 6,117 — Deaths

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Florida COVID-19 Deaths Surge Past 6,000 On Deadliest Day Yet For The Virus

State officials reported the most deaths in a single day from the coronavirus Tuesday.

The report from the Florida Department of Health showed 186 deaths in the state since Monday’s report; pushing the statewide toll to 6,117. The previous single day high was 173 deaths reported less than a week ago on Thursday.

In the greater Tampa Bay region, health officials reported 48 COVID-19 releated deaths, including 16 in Polk County; the highest number of deaths in a day for the county to date. Pinellas County recorded 17 deaths, and 12 people died in Hillsborough County.

Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health reported 441,977 people have tested positive for the coronavirus – an increase of 9,230 since Monday.

The daily number of new cases in the greater Tampa Bay region has not been below 1,000 since the end of June. Tuesday’s numbers continued that trend, with 1,044 more positive tests reported in the 24-hour period since Monday’s report – the lowest daily total for the region since June 30. [Read more]

— Lisa Peakes

Manatee Enacts Mask Ordinance

Manatee County Commissioners have passed a resolution requiring the wearing of face masks.

The vote was not unanimous and came after 5 hours of public discussion on Monday.

The mandate includes all indoor spaces in Manatee County.

In June, the board declined to mandate masks despite recommendations from county health experts. The commission then went on a month-long summer recess.

Since then, the Manatee County cities of Anna Maria Island and Holmes Beach passed their own mandates.

As of Monday, 7,896 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Manatee County, and 156 people have died.

— Cathy Carter

Keep Campuses Closed, Faculty Union Urges

Florida’s largest faculty union Monday called on Gov. Ron DeSantis and state education officials to order higher-education institutions to use remote learning through the fall.

The push to keep university and college campuses closed during the fall semester, amid concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, adds another pressure point on the Republican governor, who is increasingly facing criticism for how he has reopened the state.

United Faculty of Florida President Karen Morian said during a conference call with reporters that faculty members across the state are concerned that the reopening plans of many universities and colleges have “too many common shortcomings” related to the health and safety of students and staff. [Read more]

— Ana Ceballos, News Service of Florida

Pence In Miami To Announce UM Participating In Clinical Coronavirus Trial

Vice President Mike Pence was at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine on Monday  as researchers are entering phase three for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Pence said the U.S. is not waiting until the end of clinical trials to create the vaccines.

“We’re actually having these companies produce the vaccines as we speak and as soon as they’re confirmed to be safe and effective, we’ll have tens of millions of doses able to distribute across the country,” Pence said.

He credited President Donald Trump for the quick progress.

But in a statement, the Florida Democratic Party said Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis’s response has “left Florida as the global coronavirus hotspot.”

The biotechnology company Moderna is handling this trial phase. Around 1,000 people will be participating in the trial. Half of them will get a vaccine, the other half a placebo.

UM is one of many trial sites across the U.S.

— Veronica Zaragovia, WLRN

Hillsborough Schools Report 206 Cases Since March

The chairwoman of Hillsborough County’s School Board says since classes went online in March, the district has reported 206 positive cases of COVID-19 — with five of them being students.

Melissa Snively told members of the county’s Emergency Policy Group that many of those cases happened during limited openings of schools for summer activities.

She says the district cases are on par with what county health department director Douglas Holt says are happening in Hillsborough County.

“Although 206 cases sounds like a lot of cases, in perspective, it is about the same rate that Dr. Holt currently talked about per 100,000 in our school district,” Snively said. “So that is taken into consideration as the school district continues to evaluate the reopening of schools.”

Last week, Hillsborough school board officials voted to start school on Aug. 24, and will give parents the option of in-person instruction for children or having students learn online.

— Steve Newborn

Florida Judge Upholds Coronavirus Ordinance Requiring Masks

A Florida judge has upheld a county’s coronavirus ordinance that requires masks be worn in public places like stores.

The judge said Palm Beach County’s recently enacted order legally protects its residents from infectious diseases and he rejected the challenger’s claim that it violates their rights to privacy and personal autonomy.

He cited a century-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said a state can mandate vaccinations.

This is at least the fourth Florida city or county ordinance to be upheld. The challengers’ attorney said he plans to appeal, saying the ruling paves the way to tyranny.

— Associated Press

Florida Revenues Continue To Take A Hit

Florida’s fiscal year ended with another downturn in state revenues, as the coronavirus outbreak continue to ravage the state’s economy.

Officials say that revenues posted in June were more than $427 million under estimate, even as the state’s economy began reopening. That brings the fiscal year’s cumulative loss at $1.9 billion.

The bulk of the deficit is because of the dramatic downturn in sales tax revenues since the start of the outbreak.

The financial hit from the virus is actually much higher. From March to May, the state has lost $2.1 billion in potential revenue.

— Associated Press

After Private Party, At Least 17 UF Health Anesthesiologist Residents Contract Coronavirus

At least 17 anesthesiologist residents and a fellow at one of the premier university hospital systems in Florida contracted COVID-19 earlier this month after attending a private party together, according to hospital insiders and internal documents.

The outbreak at University of Florida Health occurred after a party at a private home, according to people familiar with the situation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they said UF Health prohibits employees from speaking to reporters without authorization.

After the party, on July 10, chairman of anesthesiology at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Timothy E. Morey, emailed staff to report that the hospital system’s anesthesiology department had 18 positive cases of the coronavirus who were recovering at home. [Read more]

— Lauren E. Johnson, Fresh Take Florida

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