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COVID-19 Morning Update

Florida Department of Health

Sunday marked the fifth consecutive day Florida health officials reported single-day increases of more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19. The Florida Department of Health reported 1,419 new cases of the coronavirus, yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 63,938 confirmed cases.

State Health officials also reported 12 new coronavirus-related deaths, Sunday, increasing the statewide death toll to 2,700 fatalities, including 1,338 deaths in long-term care facilities.

Of the 1,217,105 tests that have been performed in Florida so far, 5.3% have been positive for the virus.

In the Southwest Florida region including Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, state health officials have reported 538 new cases over the weekend and 19 new deaths, including five deaths in Manatee County, four deaths in Charlotte County, three new deaths each in Collier, Lee and Sarasota Counties and one new death in Hendry County.

County officials across Florida are pushing Governor Ron DeSantis to release nearly $1.3 billion in federal funding awarded to Florida through the CARES Act, as local municipalities continue to struggle to keep their economies afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

12 Florida counties with populations of more than half a million people, including Lee County, have received $2.47 billion in direct payments from the U.S. Treasury Department, but some $1.275 billion allocated to Florida has been sitting in state coffers for more than two months.

A state official speaking to the News Service of Florida under the condition of anonymity says officials are being cautious about how the funds will be distributed, saying the state would be on the hook for any of the funds misspent by a local municipality.

A month ago, Haiti’s number of COVID-19 infections barely registered on the global radar screen. But a leading medical group warnsthat has now changed alarmingly.

At the end of April, Haiti had reported only 81 new coronavirus cases and eight deaths. Those COVID-19 figures have since spiked to more than 3,000 cases and 50 deaths. The international medical nonprofit Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) says that due to a lack of testing, the count is likely much higher.

“We are now in an exponential situation," says Stephane Doyon, an operations manager for Doctors Without Borders, which last month opened a COVID-19 treatment center in Port-au-Prince.

"So, we’re filling up more rapidly than what we projected. Within Port-au-Prince you have some very crowded area where social distancing is very hard to implement.”

Doyon points out another challenge is the social stigma coronavirus infection still carries in Haiti. That often prevents Haitians from getting tested or treated quickly enough.

“What we’ve experienced is we have several people that died very quickly because they came too late," says Doyon. "We couldn’t do anything for them.”

Haiti’s growing crisis is reflected across Latin America and the Caribbean – which scientists say is the global hotspot for COVID-19’s second wave.

Summer is typically the time tourists travel to the sunshine state to enjoy the nice weather and amusement parks, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year is different. Sun Splash Family Waterpark is based in Cape Coral. Manager Sandra Greiner said they are feeling the effects of not being able to open the park to visitors.

“We have a lot of people especially now in the summer that come from like Germany, Sweden and South America,” said Greiner.

“Recently, obviously we aren’t getting those people here either so tourism here is really really bad.”

Adventure Landing Waterpark in Jacksonville Beach has also been forced to close. Assistant General Manager Jeremy Christian said although their visitors are mostly local, he knows they are ready to enjoy the park again.

“I think our local base is ready to get out and about and ready to come to have fun. We’ll be at half capacity to start and then as the phases go through we’ll increase capacity if we’re allowed to,” said Christian.

Adventure Landing Waterpark and Sun Splash Family Waterpark both reopened Friday, June 6.

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.
Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. He has reported on Latin America for almost 30 years - for Newsweek as its Mexico City bureau chief from 1990 to 1996, and for Time as its Latin America bureau chief in Mexico and Miami (where he also covered Florida and the U.S. Southeast) from 1996 to 2013.