Latest On Coronavirus: Florida Deaths Pass 2,000, Pinellas Breweries Can Reopen, And More - WUSF Public Media | Tampa NPR, Local News Coverage

Latest On Coronavirus: Florida Deaths Pass 2,000, Pinellas Breweries Can Reopen, 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 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 19, according to the Florida Department of Health:

45,684 – Florida Residents |  1,260 – Non-Florida Residents | 2,052  – Deaths

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Movie Theaters In Pinellas Reopen Plan

Movie theaters in Pinellas County will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity after being shuttered due to the coronavirus.

That conflicts with what Gov. Ron Desantis said during a press conference on Friday. But his administration’s “full Phase One” reopening plan allows venues like theaters, bowling alleys, concert halls and casinos to open at a limited capacity.

Pinellas officials used the plan, developed by a task force appointed by the governor, as guidance when determining how to reopen the county.

Pinellas County is working with the state to being begin reopening short-term vacation rentals. [Read more]

— Julio Ochoa

Pinellas Breweries Can Reopen

Breweries in Pinellas County can now reopen with restrictions.

According to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, a brewery may operate if it has outdoor seating, and if it has a food truck associated with it or a restaurant.

Indoor seating will be restricted to 50 percent capacity.

— Carl Lisciandrello

Lido Beach To Reopen

By a 4-1 vote, Sarasota City Commissioners have decided to reopen Lido Beach.

Vice Mayor Shelli Freeland-Eddie was the sole vote against lifting the closure, which has been in place since March.

Adjacent county beaches opened about three weeks ago but the city of Sarasota has control over Lido Beach. [Read more]

— Cathy Carter

Health Officials Warn About Legionnaire’s Disease

As Florida reopens, health officials are warning businesses to make sure their water systems are thoroughly flushed out because a bacteria that causes a severe form of pneumonia could be present in the pipes.

Water in city utilities is typically treated with a germ-killing disinfect, a form of chlorine, that’s safe to drink, but the Florida Department of Health warns that if buildings have sat empty for weeks or months their water systems will need to be thoroughly flushed.

Brian Miller, the administrator for environmental health at the Department of Health in Hillsborough County, said when water is stagnant, there can be a build-up of hazardous metals from old lead pipes and soldering — and bacteria such as Legionella. [Read more]

— Daylina Miller

OneBlood Testing For Antibodies

Floridians wondering if they had COVID-19 recently and just didn’t know it have a new way to find out. OneBlood is now testing all blood donations for coronavirus antibodies.

People can find out within a day or two of giving blood if they have antibodies to fight COVID-19 in their systems.

Donations that test positive may be added to OneBlood’s supply of convalescent plasma, which the group began collecting and distributing in April.

Hospitals are increasingly using plasma from recovered people to treat critically ill coronavirus patients, and initial results are promising. [Read more]

— Stephanie Colombini

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