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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 avoiding the hyperbole that's running rampant across social media.
Stories that require more in-depth coverage will be posted on WTSP.com/coronavirus.
8:20 a.m. (March 23)
There will be a virtual support group for children today.
It begins at 2 p.m. and ends at 2:45.
Click here at 2 p.m. to log in to participate.
8:15 a.m. (March 23)
The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group will meet today at 1:30 p.m. to discuss continuing actions in response to COVID-19.
6:45 a.m. (March 23)
Lakeland Regional Health announced it would be limiting visitors to the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning Monday, all non-emergency and non-urgent elective procedures and surgeries will be postponed.
5:15 a.m. (March 23)
Florida now has 1007 cases of coronavirus. Thirteen deaths have been reported.
10:30 p.m. (March 22)
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said it will close all state parks Monday, March 23.
9:27 p.m. (March 22)
BayCare Health System is consolidating its drive-thru COVID-19 test collection sites to high volume locations and to provide geographic access Monday.
The changes reduce from seven to four the number of test collection sites BayCare is operating across West Central Florida. The center's hours will also shift to 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
- BayCare Urgent Care (Tampa)
- 3440 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd., Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33607
- BayCare Urgent Care (Carillon)
- 900 Carillon Parkway, Suite106, St. Petersburg, FL 33716
- BayCare Urgent Care (New Port Richey)
- 4821 U.S. Highway 19, New Port Richey, FL 34652
- BayCare Urgent Care (Haines City)
- 36245 U.S. Highway 27, Haines City, FL 33844
7:18 p.m. (March 22)
The Florida Lottery said it would close its headquarters' doors to the public starting Monday, March 23.
6:04 p.m. (March 22)
The Flordia Department of Health is now reporting 1,007 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state.
That number breaks down to 937 positive cases in Florida residents and 70 positive cases in non-Florida residents.
3:57 p.m. (March 22)
Florida State Parks announced it will close all state beach parks to stop people from gathering in large crowds.
3:08 p.m. (March 22)
Highlands County reports its first positive case of COVID-19. Health experts said it is a 78-year-old woman and it was not travel related.
1:52 p.m. (March 22)
Sarasota Memorial Hospital reports no new positive COVID-19 coronavirus cases. The number of patients with COVID-19 at the hospital remains at five.
Anyone who wants to donate sealed and commercially produced items can email email@example.com or call 941-917-7011.
1:13 p.m. (March 22)
Six University of Tampa students tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus following their travels, with a group recently coming back to campus from a spring break trip.
In a statement posted to Facebook, the university said five students were traveling together with other students for spring break. One of them did not return to campus, while four did.
All are self-isolating, with four of them doing so on campus. UT said no one has been hospitalized.
Another student was traveling internationally and was tested on March 16, the university said. That person is self-isolating off campus and has not been hospitalized.
Noon (March 22)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke from the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on the state's effort to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The stadium, the site of this year's Super Bowl LIV, will open Monday as a major COVID-19 testing facility, with the Florida National Guard on hand to assist in those efforts. It opens at 9 a.m. and operates seven days a week.
DeSantis said the main sticking point right now is not a matter of will in getting people tested but if there will be enough supplies, adding the testing process itself will take about 10-15 minutes.
For the general public, people need to exercise social distancing and practice basic hygiene to help limit the spread of coronavirus.
Florida officials said statewide, about 34 percent of its hospitals currently are at a 50 percent or greater capacity.
11 a.m. (March 22)
The Florida Department of Health reports an additional 67 new COVID-19 cases since Saturday night, bringing the total to 830 cases. Among those, 768 are among Florida residents while 62 are cases in non-Florida residents.
A person in Palm Beach County died from the virus; there have been 13 deaths reported in Florida since the outbreak began.
10:55 a.m. (March 22)
All Polk County parks and national resource facilities are closed until further notice, including playgrounds, trails and dog parks, Fire Rescue wrote in a Facebook post.
All county facilities will close Monday to public walk-in transactions, including the county administration building.
8:04 a.m. (March 22)
The Florida National Guard reports it has 1,010 guardsmen on state active duty to support Florida's coronavirus response. It, too, is preparing to expand support to COVID-19 test sites in Miami-Dade and Orange counties.
In Broward County, the test site there collected 531 samples on Saturday for a total of 1,276 samples since it opened.
7:16 a.m. (March 22)
A doctor at the Florida Orthopaedic Institute tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, March 19, it said in a Facebook post. The physician only has experienced mild symptoms and is under quarantine.
All Florida Orthopaedic Institute locations in Hillsborough County and Wesley Chapel are closed until further notice as a precaution.
6:40 a.m. (March 22)
Four University of Tampa students tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus following a spring break trip.
In a statement posted to Facebook, the university said the students were traveling together among other UT students. One of them did not return to campus, while three did.
All are self-isolating, with three of them in isolation on campus.
Students are reminded to leave campus through the remainder of the spring semester unless they have no other available options.
Update: This brief has been updated to reflect the University of Tampa now reporting four students testing positive for COVID-19, not five as earlier indicated.
6:17 p.m. (March 21)
The Florida Department of Health announced more than 100 new cases of coronavirus in the state Saturday evening.
The total number is 763. There are 706 confirmed cases in Florida residents and 57 positive cases in non-Florida residents.
5:45 p.m. (March 21)
Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller posts a video to clear up any confusion people might have about a "stay-at-home" order in the county.
Right now, there isn't one but Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says she expects one to happen Monday.
5:15 p.m. (March 21)
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says a COVID-19 testing site at Raymond James Stadium should be up and running by Monday.
She says the city is waiting to get the swabs necessary to take samples.
5:10 p.m. (March 21)
Governor DeSantis says three people have died at the same nursing home in Broward County.
DeSantis says Atria Willow Wood did not follow directions and impose restrictions, screening measures.
4:35 p.m. (March 21)
Governor Ron DeSantis is giving an update on the state's response to COVID-19, the coronavirus.
3:25 p.m.(March 21)
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) announced ways it was going to protect its drivers and riders from COVID-19.
- Bus drivers can limit the number of people riding their buses to no more than 10 people.
- Patrons will be required to use the rear door of the busses.
- There are plans to scale back service levels by about 40% starting Monday, March 31.
- Bus operators have masks and gloves available to them.
3:09 p.m. (March 21)
Sarasota Memorial Hospital says three more patients there tested positive for COVID-19. That brings the total number of patients who tested positive to five.
The hospital says four other patients who had tested positive have been discharged.
1:19 p.m. (March 21)
Goodwill-Suncoast stores and donation sites are reducing hours in response to COVID-19, coronavirus concerns.
The change in hours takes effect Sunday, March 22. The company operates locations in St. Petersburg, Lakeland and Ocala.
Each location's reduced hours vary and can be found here.
12:30 p.m. (March 21)
The Florida Department of Transportation announces its service plazas along the Florida Turnpike no longer will sell food at any resturant in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
The plazas remain open for public restrooms and dog walks, convenience stores and fuel stations, according to a news release.
11:25 a.m. (March 21)
The Florida Department of Health reports two new COVID-19 related deaths in the state. The total number of confirmed cases now sits at 658.
You can track Florida's COVID-19 cases here.
10:25 a.m. (March 21)
The city of Tampa has an available hotline for its residents to stay informed with need-to-know social service and business relief information.
It is 1-833-TPA-INFO and it is open during these new hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
People can call the hotline to ask questions about food assistance, senior services, financial resources and more, a news release states. People interested in business relief can get more information about the Small Business Bridge Loan and other resources that could help alleviate the financial burden of coronavirus.
7:21 a.m. (March 21)
Amid the flurry of COVID-19 coronavirus shopping, there's been one particularly useful item that hasn't been too easy to find.
Beans and Barlour, a St. Petersburg-based business known for its treats and boozy sweets, says it has the city's back(side) when it comes to finding some toilet paper.
10:44 p.m. (March 20)
Derby Lane in St. Petersburg closed until further notice Friday at 6 p.m.
9:58 p.m. (March 20)
The Florida Department of Health is now only reporting 10 coronavirus related deaths. The Flordia Department of Health initially said a person in Pasco County had died but then sent a correction saying there were no new deaths associated with COVID-19 Friday.
9:45 p.m. (March 20)
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor told 10News it was extremely likely that there would be a mandatory countywide "stay-at-home" order. She said it could happen early next week.
8:31 p.m. (March 20)
MacDill Air Force Base confirms that an active-duty sailor has coronavirus. It is believed to be a travel-related case.
Friday evening, Colonel Stephen Snelson said in a Facebook video, “The safety of our Airmen, families and employees is our top priority. We will continue to work with our interagency partners to ensure we do everything we can to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and ensure our Airmen, families and employees here have the most up-to-date information on appropriate measures to prevent the potential spread of the virus.”
7:50 p.m. (March 20)
TSA says two more agents at Orlando International Airport tested positive for COVID-19.
TSA says one is resting at home and the other is getting medical attention at a hospital.
7:25 p.m. (March 20)
The Florida Department of Health announced that a person who passed away in Pasco County tested positive for COVID-19. The total number of confirmed cases now sits at 563 and there have been 11 deaths statewide.