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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.
- 20 deaths reported in Florida
- 1,467 reported cases in Florida
- Tampa mayor likely to issue a stay-at-home order
- Pinellas County reported a 67-year-old person died Monday
10:27 p.m. (March 24)
To help protect employees, Publix has announced plans to install plexiglass partitions to protect its cashiers.
The Lakeland-based grocery chain, which operates 1,200 locations, says the partitions will be seen at all registers within the next two weeks. A spokesperson said installations would begin this weekend.
"I can confirm that we will be installing plexiglass companywide at our registers, customer service desks and pharmacies," Publix spokeswoman Mario Brous said. "Installations will begin this weekend, and we expect to conclude within the next two weeks."
9:34 p.m. (March 24)
On the day an executive order affecting New York-area travelers to Florida was set to go into effect, there was no guidance on how to implement it.
On Tuesday, 10Investigates revealed how law enforcement agencies were left in the dark about how to handle the order. Then, late Tuesday night, some guidance arrived -- although it was directed mostly at travelers, not the people expected to enforce the policy.
The Florida Departement of Transportation, working with the Florida Department of Health, late Tuesday said people flying to Florida from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are required to isolate for 14 days or during the length of their visit, whichever is shorter, to help limit the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
7:25 p.m. (March 24)
The city of Miami will implement a stay-at-home order starting Tuesday night, WFOR-TV reports.
Mayor Francis Suarez on Twitter said he wants people planning on visiting for spring break to go home.
6:40 p.m. (March 24)
The Florida Department of Health reports an additional 55 coronavirus cases since the morning update, bringing the total to 1,467 cases.
Two people in Pinellas and Lee counties who tested positive for the virus died.
Health officials said a total of 20 people have died from coronavirus.
6:06 p.m. (March 24)
The White house Coronavirus Task Force has praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for requiring people flying from the NYC-area -- a COVID-19 hotspot -- to self-isolate for 14 days. Federal leaders are encouraging anyone traveling out of New York to do the same, whether or not they're heading to Florida.
5:34 p.m. (March 24)
Universal Orlando Resort will remain closed through April 19 because of concerns over COVID-19 coronavirus.
It earlier expected to reopen toward the end of March.
5:28 p.m. (March 24)
The Manatee County Health Department will host a drive-thru specimen collection site for people with prescriptions from Thursday through Sunday. Fifty appointments will be allowed per day.
People will submit specimens at the site, and those will be sent to labs for COVID-19 testing. Anyone who wishes to be tested must make an appointment in advance with the Manatee County Health Department at 941-748-0747. No walk-ups will be allowed. Drivers must have their photo ID and a prescription from their health care provider.
4:50 p.m. (March 24)
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said she is likely to issue a stay-at-home order tomorrow, going into effect a midnight Thursday.
She says the order is less restrive than a curfew, something Hillsborough County is considering, in allowing people to go out for essential services.
"I know there's an inconvenience, I know there's a great deal of frustration on everyone's part but just think of the alternative if you take this ... on, you may be saving lives," Castor said.
4:37 p.m. (March 24)
Sarasota Memorial Hospital said it is treating nine patients with COVID-19 coronavirus. Two patients died Tuesday, one of those with a presumptive positive case and another whose test results remain pending.
"On behalf of the hospital and the clinical team dedicated to caring for these patients, we extend our deepest sympathies to their families and friends,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder in a release. “It is a sad and sobering reality to see the effects of this virus across the world, and now in our own community, but our team stands united and prepared to fight this together.”
4:16 p.m. (March 24)
Leon County and the City of Tallahassee have issued a stay-at-home order and curfew to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, according to CBS affiliate WCTV. The curfew means people need to be home from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. The order takes effect at 11 p.m. on Wednesday.
4:02 p.m. (March 24)
While a stay-at-home order is likely to be issued for Tampa residents by Mayor Jane Castor, Hillsborough County in a way is saying, not so fast.
However, Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill released his own statement Tuesday afternoon, saying "to ensure unity of action throughout the county," there will be no stay-at-home order anywhere.
"Pursuant to the discussions which took place at the Emergency Policy Group meeting of March 23, 2020 the vote by the Group to not institute a Stay-at-Home Order at this time, and in order to ensure unity of action throughout the county, I am confirming that decision by directing that no Stay-at-Home order shall be applicable in any portion of Hillsborough County until further direction by the Emergency Policy Group, unless as may be necessary under my delegated authority."
3:25 p.m. (March 24)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says anyone who has traveled to the New York City area in the last three weeks needs to self-isolate. The state's surgeon general will be issuing a health advisory -- urging anyone 65 and older to stay home for 14 days.
3:24 p.m. (March 24)
A much-anticipated COVID-19 coronavirus drive-through testing service at Raymond James Stadium is slated to open Wednesday morning.
Take note: People cannot visit the stadium site on their own -- they must be pre-screened and pre-registered, according to a Hillsborough County news release.
County residents can call their doctors to ensure they meet the testing guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health. This largely includes people who are symptomatic for coronavirus, showing a cough and a fever.
2:40 p.m. (March 24)
The city of Tampa said Mayor Jane Castor will likely issue a stay-at-home order. According to a spokesperson for the mayor's office, that order will likely come Wednesday.
The order “immediately limits all movement outside...beyond what is necessary to take care of ‘essential services’ or ‘necessary activities.’”
What does a stay-at-home order mean? Learn more here.
2:30 p.m. (March 24)
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted a stay-at-home "order is coming," hoping the county will join.
12:40 p.m. (March 24)
The Department of Health in Pinellas said the county reported its first death from COVID-19. Authorities said a 67-year-old person died Monday.
"We are expressing our condolences to the person's family and we will continue to work with DOH and our community partners to prevent the spread of COVID-19," the county said in a release.
12:35 p.m (March 24)
Manatee County announced it would close its Beer Can Island and its boat ramps beginning at 6 a.m. Thursday.
Beer Can Island in Manatee County -- not Pine Key Island in Hillsborough, also known as Beer Can Island -- had already been closed to the public. But, it was still open to boaters with memberships.
Manatee County beaches remained closed.
11:30 a.m. (March 24)
The number of reported coronavirus cases in Florida is 1,412. 18 people have died from the virus in Florida.
9 a.m. (March 24)
Hillsborough County residents experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 are encouraged to call (813) 272-5900, Hillsborough County’s main information line, beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
7:00 a.m. (March 24)
The city of Lakeland decided Monday to close more parks and recreation facilities to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The following places will be closed through March 30 or until further notice:
- Gated park spaces and gated trails
- Parks with picnic pavilions, playground and bathrooms
- Cleveland Heights Golf Course
- Tennis, pickleball and basketball courts
- Dog parks
- Boat ramps
10:46 p.m. (March 23)
The Florida Department of Health said there are 17 people who have died from COVID-19 coronavirus, providing a correction.
The number of total coronavirus cases at this time remains at 1,227 cases.
10:07 p.m. (March 23)
Tampa International Airport tweeted a reminder to passengers in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order: "...effective March 24 all passengers from NY, NJ or CT flying into Florida must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival due to coronavirus.
"The Executive Order does not apply to those employed by the airlines, or those providing military, health or emergency response."
9:15 p.m. (March 23)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis released his letter to President Donald Trump, requesting that he declare a major disaster for the state in response to coronavirus.
The request includes help for disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, community disaster loans and more.
- Florida State Parks closed beginning March 23 to follow CDC guidelines
- Arizona death prompts warning against self-medication to treat COVID-19
- These states have issued stay-at-home orders. What does that mean?
- Florida stay-at-home order 'not advisable,' DeSantis says. People traveling from NY, NJ and CT must self-isolate
- Hillsborough County will consider curfew after rejecting stay-at-home order
- 2020 Olympics delayed until 2021 because of coronavirus
- This interactive map shows coronavirus cases in Florida
- Coronavirus resources: Hotlines, websites offer the latest on COVID-19
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