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Coronavirus in Florida: Second patient at Sarasota Memorial dies from COVID-19

The hospital is also reporting that seven more patients and four more members of its health care team tested positive.

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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

  • 60 deaths reported in Florida, with 4,950 confirmed cases
  • Hillsborough, Pinellas counties under a "safer at home" order until further notice
  • Going boating? Gov. DeSantis' new order requires boaters to remain at least 50 feet away from each other


7:50 p.m. (March 29)

Sarasota Memorial Hospital reported a second patient there has died from COVID-19. 

As of Sunday, the hospital was caring for 24 people who tested positive for COVID-19. 

The hospital is also reporting that seven more patients and four more members of its health care team tested positive.

7:00 p.m. (March 29) 

The Florida Department of Health reports 60 COVID-19 related deaths in the state, 

6:40 p.m. (March 29)

President Donald Trump extends the country's social distancing guidelines through April 30

6:11 p.m. (March 29) 

The Florida Department of Health is reporting 704 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the state. The total number of positive cases is now 4,950. The Florida Department of Health reported three new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 59. 

6:00 p.m. (March 29)

The Florida National Guard said one of its soldiers who was activated to help the state's response with COVID-19 tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The Florida National Guard said the soldier did not have any contact with the public and has been in self-isolation since March 19.

2:13 p.m. (March 29)

A cruise ship waiting for permission to go through the Panama Canal and, eventually, to Port Everglades has not yet received approval.

Holland America confirmed late last week four people have died on its Zaandam ship as others onboard have flu-like symptoms. Almost 150 people have reported feeling ill.

In a statement Sunday, the company said it still has not received approval and when it does, the ship will take about three days for it to reach South Florida. Afterward, the company then must send a plan prior to receiving approval to port.

2:11 p.m. (March 29)

With Hillsborough County under a safer-at-home order because of COVID-19 coronavirus, officials are providing a shelter option for people who are homeless.

The city of Tampa, in partnership with Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg set up the "Hillsborough Hope" tent shelter meant to help 100 homeless people.

It includes tents, three meals daily, showers, laundry, case management and care, the city said, with the goal of making the homeless feel "safe at home" during the pandemic.

RELATED: 'Hillsborough Hope' created in Tampa for homeless to shelter from COVID-19

11 a.m. (March 29)

The Florida Department of Health reports an increase of at least 200 more COVID-19 coronavirus cases, bringing the state's total to 4,246 cases.

It also says 56 people have died, which is no change from Saturday night's report.

10:20 a.m. (March 29)

Gov. Ron DeSantis directed the Florida Department of Transportation to set up checkpoints along the Florida border to stop drivers coming from what he calls coronavirus hot spots.

One of them is set up on Interstate 10 just across the border from Mobile, Alabama.

RELATED: Checkpoints set up along Florida borders in effort to limit spread of COVID-19

9:46 a.m. (March 29)

An employee at the Broward Youth Treatment Center tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus, according to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. That person has been out of work for five days and will not return until making a full recovery, it said.

The department adds staff coming into the program will be screened every day and no additional youth will be permitted until further notice.

9:17 a.m. (March 29)

The St. Petersburg Police Department expressed its condolences to 64-year-old Robert Barnum, who died from COVID-19 coronavirus-related complications.

"He was a thoughtful and generous friend to our department," it wrote in a Facebook post.

RELATED: St. Petersburg realtor among new coronavirus-related deaths

8:32 a.m. (March 29)

The hope was that merely closing beach parking lots would suffice, but Saturday evening St. Johns County joined other counties in closing beaches amid the coronavirus crisis.

Eight days prior, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced the closure of all beaches in Duval County. Coronavirus, and particularly the fear of its spread, had St. Johns County officials decide to try a "middle ground" approach by merely closing beach parking lots and banning vehicles on the sand, but not outright closures.

Ultimately those officials relented, closing all 42 miles of St. Johns County shoreline to beachgoers beginning Sunday at 6 a.m.

RELATED: All public St. Johns County beaches to close Sunday morning amid COVID-19 outbreak

7:45 a.m. (March 29)

To recap Saturday's report from the Florida Department of Health: The state crossed the 4,000-mark with 4,038 cases of COVID-19 coronavirus.

It reports 56 deaths statewide.

9:30 p.m. (March 28)

Florida Highway Patrol has started helping the Florida Department of Transportation with a checkpoint for drivers on I-10 near the Florida-Alabama line. 

This is to give drivers who are coming into the state from areas with high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases information on what their next steps should be once they get to their destination.

6:09 p.m. (March 28)

The Florida Department of Health is reporting 4,038 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state with 56 deaths. 

5:20 p.m. (March 28)

Pinellas County sent out an emergency alert to remind boaters that there should be no more than 10 people on board. Boats should be no closer than 50 feet together.

4:51 p.m. (March 28)

Pasco County Schools reminded parents distance learning begins Tuesday. They asked that they make sure they can log in to MyPascoConnects and go to MyLearning.

4:20 p.m.(March 28)

Florida's surgeon general sends a public safety alert to cell phones in the state. It asks people who are 65 and older and people who have medical conditions to stay home. 

3:12 p.m. (March 28)

The Department of Health in Sarasota County, Sarasota County Government along with Sarasota Memorial Hospital have decided to pause the COVID-19 Drive-Thru testing site located at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota until Tuesday, March 31.

Health experts said they were not able to fill its 50 appointment slots per day.

The site will be re-open at 8 a.m. Tuesday and run until noon.  

1:52 p.m. (March 28)

A 67-year-old Pasco County resident who tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus died Friday, according to the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County.

The case is the second person to die in the county while diagnosed with coronavirus, the county says.

"We are expressing our condolences to the person's family and will continue to work with the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and our community partners to prevent the spread of COVID-19," it said in a news release.

11:32 a.m. (March 28)

The Florida Department of Health reports 565 new COVID-19 coronavirus cases, bringing the state's total to 3,763, since its last report Friday night.

It said 54 people have died from the virus; an increase of eight deaths.

11:13 a.m. (March 28)

The Florida Department of Health of Pinellas reports three Pinellas County residents died of COVID-19 coronavirus during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to four.

Robert Barnum, 64, is among one of the cases, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted. He was the owner of Earnest Reality and credited for many causes in the community, the mayor said.

The additional deaths included an 83-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man, Florida Health said.

Updated statewide numbers are expected to be released around noon.

8:53 a.m. (March 28)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said that due to an executive order, effective immediately, all recreational boaters must be at least 50 feet apart and each vessel must have no more than 10 people on board.

The order was enacted to reflect direction from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RELATED: Florida boaters: Vessels must be at least 50 feet apart, have no more than 10 people

7:57 a.m. (March 28)

Candidates for Florida Teacher Certification Examinations may register for exams, free of charge, from April 1 through July 31. 

The Florida Department of Education said testing will be happening on a first-come, first-served basis. Test site availability through April 16 is limited because of COVID-19-related closures.

7:25 a.m. (March 28)

The Florida Department of Corrections reports seven of its employees or contract staff are confirmed to have COVID-19 coronavirus.

One case is located at a facility in Zephyrhills, and another at the department's Community Corrections Region 3 in Tampa.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus among the inmate population.

RELATED: First look at airport health screenings for passengers arriving from New York

7:16 p.m. (March 27)

The Florida Department of Health is reporting 3,198 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state. There are also now 46 coronavirus-related deaths being reported. 

3:50 p.m. (March 27)
After closing due to a lack of kits, the COVID-19 testing site at Raymond James Stadium will reopen.

Hillsborough County Emergency Management says it has secured 1,000 more testing collection kits from the state, but local health leaders are still working to get the personal protective equipment needed to keep the medical teams safe.

A date to re-open the testing site has not yet been announced.

RELATED: Raymond James Stadium COVID-19 drive-thru test site closing early

YOUTUBE: 10News coverage of coronavirus in Florida

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