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Coronavirus in Florida: More than 1,000 positive cases in Hillsborough County

The Florida Department of Health is reporting 29,648 cases and 987 deaths in the state.

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As the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic grips the globe, it can be difficult to find reliably factual information about what's going on here in Florida. 

This blog is a resource to address that crucial need. 10News reporters and producers will use it to share the latest headlines, while actively focusing on facts not fear.

Key Facts

  • The Florida Department of Health is reporting 29,648 cases and 987 deaths in the state.
  • Sarasota County Commissioners vote to reopen the county's beaches with restrictions.
  • Walmart implements one-way aisles for customers
  • Inmate tests positive for COVID-19 at Hillsborough County Jail

9:50 p.m. (April 23)

Three days after County Commissioners authorized funding to purchase additional COVID-19 collection kits, nearly 800 have been obtained. Patients in Manatee County will soon be able to be tested at one of five locations around the county. 

The locations are:

  • East Manatee Health and Wellness Center 1312 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, (941) 708-8700
  • Southeast Family Healthcare Center
    919 53rd Ave E, Bradenton, (941) 751-8100
  • Southwest Health Center
    5325 26th St W, Bradenton, (941) 752-7173
  • Lawton Chiles Pediatrics
    1515 26th Ave E, Bradenton, (941) 708-8600
  • Edgar H. Price Family & Children Healthcare Center
    12271 U.S. Hwy 301 N, Parrish, (941) 776-4050

5:58 p.m. (April 23)

Hernando County leaders have decided to extend the local state of emergency until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a release, the group said the extension gives them "the authority to continue to take action as needed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our community in response to COVID-19."

5:51 p.m. (April 23)

Florida's Department of Health is now reporting a total of 29,648 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 987 deaths. In the Tampa Bay area, the number of cases in Hillsborough County has now hit 1,008. 

This latest report is a jump of 816 positive cases in the state and 60 additional deaths since this mornings update. 

5:10 p.m. (April 23)

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says an inmate booked into the Orient Road Jail has tested positive for COVID-19. He had recently been in contact with people who also tested positive. He was put into isolation on Wednesday and has since been taken to the Falkenburg Road Jail, where he is still in isolation. 

"We have taken every precaution possible to protect our detention staff since they first came in contact with this individual. Every deputy and civilian staff member who has interacted with this inmate has worn personal protective equipment," Sheriff Chad Chronister said. "This is the first COVID-19 case we have had in our jails to date. We will continue to take every measure necessary to keep not only our staff members but the inmate population as a whole healthy and safe."

4:48 p.m. (April 23)

Sarasota County has set the dates for the county's second wave of COVI-19 drive-thru testing.

The sites will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Those interested in getting tested are required to make an appointment first. To set an appointment call, 941-861-2883. 


North Sarasota: Tuesday, 4/28, 8 a.m. to Noon - RL Taylor Community Center, 1845 34th Street, Sarasota

South County: Wednesday, 4/29, 9 a.m. to Noon - Heron Creek Middle School, 6501 W. Price Blvd, North Port

Mid-County: Thursday, 4/30, 8 a.m. to Noon - Laurel Civic Association, 509 Collins Road, Laurel

4:30 p.m. (April 23)

Students at Citrus County Schools may experience a different type of virtual learning for some time after the school district said its servers were compromised. 

The district reported experiencing issues with its network Thursday morning. That's technology staff investigated it was discovered the compromise.

"Our Technology Team will be working around the clock to bring our systems back up and running," Assistant Superintendent Mike Mullen said.

Remote learning will continue for students, but only through the serves that were not impacted. The others have been shit down and alerted to the risk management team.

At this time, the school district is unsure of how long the issue will persist but are hopeful that it can be handled within a few days.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office was notified of the activity and are investigating, according to the school district.

3:34 p.m. (April 23)

The Manatee County Health Department is urging the public to wear cloth face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on masks can be found here. 

3:05 p.m. (April 23)

Sarasota Memorial Hospital CEO David Verinder is sharing the answers to the most frequently asked questions. Verinder touched on the support they are getting from the public, staff furloughs, testing at the hospital among other things. 

Sarasota Memorial is preparing for the chance of re-opening. They are looking into the safest and most appropriate way to choose when to do so. No, date is set in stone just yet.

You can watch the entire video below.

2:58 p.m. (April 23)

Freedom Square has provided the latest update on the facilities coronavirus outbreak, sharing nine of those in the rehabilitation and health center have tested positive, while 37 have tested negative. 

The facility confirmed to 10Investigates two more individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 have died, bringing the total to deaths to seven.

"We’re deeply saddened by these losses, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones," Freedom Square said wrote in an email. "As always, our residents and staff are our No. 1 priority, and we’re continuing to do everything we can to ensure their safety during this challenging time."

As of today, the facility says it has tested 435 people. Of those tests 35 have come back positive, 154 negative and results are pending on 246 tests.

The facility also confirmed the National Guard will arrive on Friday at assist with testing and COVID-19 cases.

11:20 a.m. (April 23)

The Citrus County School District said it was having trouble with its network so teachers and students couldn't get on the Distance learning Program. 

The school district said it was bringing in additional staff to try and troubleshoot the issue. 

11 a.m. (April 23)

The Florida Department of Health is reporting 28,832 cases and 927 deaths in the state. That is 34 more deaths than reported yesterday.

9:30 a.m. (April 23)

The Re-Open Florida Task Force will hold four meetings today. They are scheduled for 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

You can find more on how to listen to those meetings here. 

RELATED: Here's how to listen to the Re-Open Florida Task Force meetings

10:39 p.m. (April 22)

The Pinellas County Medical Examiners Office has confirmed to 10Investigates that the total COVID-19 related deaths at Freedom Square of Seminole have climbed to five residents.

The most recent passing was a 96-year-old on Tuesday. The medical examiner's office said none of the reported deaths occurred at the facility. 

9:08 p.m. (April 22)

Hillsborough County announced another resident has died from COVID-19 Wednesday night. This brings the county's total deaths to 21. 

"The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County expresses our condolences to their loved ones.," county leaders said in a release. 

6:46 p.m. (April 22)

In an additional step to help keep shoppers safe during the coronavirus pandemic, Walmart is implementing one-way aisles for customers. 

The one-way aisles are designed to help with social distancing efforts and will allow shoppers to keep more space between them. 

All store aisles will be marked with floor decals to help indicate the correct flow of foot traffic. Customers will see green "Shop This Way" decals highlighting the correct way to walk through the aisles and red decals reading "Do Not Shop This Way"  if they are going the wrong way.