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Coronavirus in Florida: State now reporting more than 100 deaths, 7,773 positive cases

For the past two days, cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in Florida have gone up by at least 1,000.

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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.

Stories that require more in-depth coverage will be posted on WTSP.com/coronavirus.

Key Facts

  • 101 deaths reported in Florida, with 7,773 confirmed cases
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted calls to implement a statewide stay-at-home order
  • DeSantis also said he's signing an executive order to allow retired law enforcement and medical professionals to return to work to help fight COVID-19


8:48 p.m. (April 1)

The Tampa pastor who was arrested Monday after Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said he held a packed service despite Hillsborough County's "safer-at-home" order now says he will not hold services this Sunday. 

Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne made the announcement that The River at Tampa Bay would not hold services at the church on Facebook Live Wednesday night.

Howard-Browne said there would still be a broadcasted service.

RELATED: Tampa pastor says he will not hold Sunday service at church after his arrest

7:24 p.m. (April 1)

Manatee County said its county buildings will remain closed to the public through April 30 in accordance with Gov. Ron DeSantis' order.

Transit services continue to operate but passengers are asked to limit their trips to essential travel only.

6:32 p.m. (April 1)

The Florida Department of Health reports a large spike in positive COVID-19 coronavirus cases, bringing the state's total to 7,773 positive cases. 

The number of deaths now stands at 101.

6:31 p.m. (April 1)

A nurse practitioner at Lakeland Regional Health tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus.

The hospital said it has contacted the patients and staff who had been in contact with the nurse.

The hospital said the nurse is at home in isolation and doing well

6:02 p.m. (April 1)

Two hotels in Hillsborough County are opening their doors as quarantine and isolation sites starting Thursday.

The two hotels are on East Fowler Avenue in Tampa and have a total of 362 rooms. They will be managed by Hillsborough County and the Department of Health in Hillsborough County.

4:55 p.m. (April 1)

Sarasota Memorial Hospital said five of its patients have died from COVID-19 related illnesses. The hospital said eight of its employees tested positive. 

SMH said it has 29 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The hospital said it has tested more than 660 people and has had 50 positive results.

4:50 p.m. (April 1) 

Sarasota Memorial Hospital said it was changing its mask policy. Now, anyone who works in clinical areas or comes into contact with people will be required to wear a mask.

3:57 p.m. (April 1)

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted his reaction to Governor Ron Desantis' statewide stay-at-home order. He said he'd say, "better late than never" but that being late could have "catastrophic consequences" for the people of Florida and the state's healthcare system.

Kriseman said he was glad the governor listened to the state's call for uniformity and urging all residents to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

1:20 p.m. (April 1)

Governor DeSantis has issued an executive order to enact a statewide 'stay-at-home' order.

When the order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 3, all Floridians will be required to remain in their homes except for "essential services." The Department of Homeland Security's official list of essential services and professions can be found here.

RELATED: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue statewide stay-at-home order. What does it mean?

11:50 a.m. (April 1)

Florida Department of Health now reporting 87 deaths and 6,954 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

10:30 a.m. (April 1)

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay understands the need for engaging activities is greater now more than ever. The park has developed standards-aligned resources available now to help families virtually explore the wild world of animals and nature for grades K-12. Parents, students and teachers can explore hands-on, creative resources including Classroom Activities, Teacher’s Guides, Saving a Species Video Series, Animal Bytes and Animal Info Books.

Busch Gardens distance learning resources can help everyone continue to explore, discover and stay connected in a fun and inspiring environment.  

Materials can also be accessed by going directly to SeaWorld.org, or through our portal at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Education.

7:40 a.m. (April 1)

Another cruise ship carrying sick passengers is headed to South Florida.

Princess Cruises confirmed Wednesday that the Coral Princess is estimated to arrive on April 4 in Fort Lauderdale.

6:45 a.m. (April 1)

Another cruise ship carrying sick passengers is headed to Florida. Princess Cruises confirmed the Coral Princess is set to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on April 4.

The ship said there is a "higher-than-normal" number of people on board with flu-like symptoms and a number of people have tested positive for the flu. However, it said there is no risk of COVID-19 on board.

RELATED: Princess cruise ship carrying passengers with flu-like symptoms headed to Florida

6 a.m. (April 1)

The coronavirus testing site at Raymond James Stadium is reopening after Hillsborough County officials announced they have secured 1,500 additional tests.

The site will re-open Wednesday and close on Friday.

The drive-thru testing will only be administered to patients who have symptoms of COVID-19. Patients must pre-register through the Hillsborough County Call Center as well as make an appointment.

The call center will be taking appointments starting March 31 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Their phone number is (813) 272-5900.

11:34 p.m. (March 31)

After Gov. Ron DeSantis said he didn't want the Holland America Zaandam cruise ship carrying hundreds of people with flu-like symptoms to dock in Florida, he might soon get a call from President Donald Trump.

Trump said he will speak with the governor about the situation, the USA Today reports, though it's unclear what the men will discuss exactly. Two of the company's ships, the Zaandam and Rotterdam, recently were able to cross the Panama Canal and are heading to Florida.

"I am going to do what is right, not only for us but for humanity," Trump reportedly said.

RELATED: President Trump to deal with Holland America cruise ships to dock in Florida

8:30 p.m. (March 31)

A 28-year-old man died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital from COVID-19 coronavirus, the hospital confirmed.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the person's case involved travel in Florida and Illinois. There was no apparent contact with a person who had COVID-19.

YOUTUBE: 10News coverage of coronavirus in Florida

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