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COVID-19 Morning Report

Florida Department of Health

State health officials reported 7,104 new COVID-19 cases, Sunday, bringing Florida's total to 487,132 cases.

The Florida Department of Health also reported 62 coronavirus-related deaths, Aug. 2, increasing the statewide death toll to 7,084 fatalities. Before Sunday, Florida had experienced five straight days of at least 100 deaths reported in a single day.

Sunday was the eighth consecutive day health officials reported fewer than 10,000 cases in a day, marking the first time that's happened since the week of June 24- July 1.

Of the 3,726,562 tests that have been reported in Florida so far, 13.07% have been positive for the virus.

The number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Florida now stands at 27,150 patients since the beginning of the pandemic.

Here in the Southwest Florida region including Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, state health officials have reported a total of 43,932 cases of COVID-19 and 860 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic started.

Florida sheriffs who attended a conference with COVID-19 positive colleagues, last week, met with President Donald Trump Friday, during a stop in Tampa.

The News-Press reports, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood announced his positive test result just hours before more than a dozen other Florida sheriffs stood behind the president while he made an address praising the law enforcement leaders and announcing more endorsements of Florida officials.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno hosted the Florida Sheriff's Association conference last week in Bonita Springs. He was among those standing behind the president. Marceno and two other sheriffs say they had been rapid tested for the coronavirus before the Trump meeting. Neither Trump nor the sheriffs wore masks.

Other officials at the meeting included Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Senator Rick Scott, R-Naples.

On Friday night, the Florida Department of Corrections announced DOC Secretary Mark Inch, who attended last week’s conference, and Deputy Secretary Ricky Dixon also tested positive for COVID-19.

The Lee County School District will not be performing temperature checks of students as they arrive at schools this fall. District officials made that announcement, Friday, in a letter to parents. The District cites guidance from the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics that says temperature checks are time consuming, expensive and not a great tool for early COVID-19 infection detection

The policy change came one day after the deadline for parents to select how they want their kids to return to school: either in-person classroom learning or virtual learning options.

The district says parents who want to change their selection now should contact their child's school directly. The News Press reports the FCAAP says parents should still check their child’s temperature each morning and that kids with temperatures of 100.4 degrees or higher should not be sent to school.

U.S. Senators plan to continue talks. Monday, over a new coronavirus relief bill. During an appearance Friday on NPR’s “Here & Now” Florida’s former governor and now GOP U.S. Senator Rick Scott said it would be a mistake not to reach an agreement.

“I hope that everybody will come back with a renewed focus to say, ‘Let’s focus on the virus, focus on the unemployed, focus on reopening our economy.’ We’re borrowing an unprecedented amount of money, and we’re never going to be able to pay for this if we don’t get this economy reopened again,” said Scott.

Republicans are proposing one trillion in spending. Democrats are asking for three trillion including an extension of the $600 unemployment booster until January. That federal payment for coronavirus relief expired last month.

The Florida Ports Council is pushing to get congressional assistance for the state’s ports as a major cruise line extends its suspension of operations amid the pandemic.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., which operates out of several Florida ports, has quietly extended the suspension of operations for its cruise brands through Oct. 31.

The suspension was announced less than two weeks after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted a no-sail order for cruises through Sept. 30.

Florida Ports Council President Doug Wheeler expects a decline of more than $700 million in direct spending, $620 million in lost wages and more than 40,000 Florida job cuts in connection with maritime businesses as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the significant impact that the cruise and cargo sectors bring through our seaports to the state of Florida, we must ensure that they have the necessary resources to continue,” said Wheeler.

He is asking Congress to provide the maritime sector similar protections and relief given to other industries during the pandemic.

Alexander Gonzalez is a recent graduate of the University of Miami. He majored in English and was the the editor-in-chief of The Miami Hurricane newspaper from 2014-15. He was WLRN's digital intern during summer 2015. He subscribes to too many podcasts and can't get away from covering the arts in Miami.
Tom Urban is the Assignment Manager for .