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COVID-19 Morning Report

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Florida Department of Health

State health officials reported 1,823 new COVID-19 cases in Florida, Wednesday, increasing the overall total to 650,092 confirmed cases. Wednesday’s increase marks the lowest number of new cases reported in a day since June 15.

The Florida Department of Health also reported 44 new coronavirus-related deaths, Sept. 8, bringing the statewide death toll to 12,067 fatalities.

Of the 4,823,952 COVID-19 tests that have been reported in Florida so far, the overall positivity rate remains at 13.48%. The total number or coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Florida since the beginning of the pandemic has now risen to 40,195 patients.

Here in the Southwest Florida region including Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, state health officials reported 123 new cases, Wednesday, for a total of 54,704 cases.

There were also 3 new COVID-related deaths reported in Lee County Sept 8, increasing the Southwest Florida region's death toll since the start of the pandemic to 1,267 fatalities.

The Pinellas County School Board has acknowledged mounting complaints from teachers about having to instruct both in-person and remote students at the same time.

A petition against simultaneous teaching has garnered more than 2,600 signatures. Signatories say teachers are being pulled in too many directions, and students aren't getting the attention they need.

Pinellas School Superintendent Michael Grego said at a school board meeting Tuesday evening that he wants to hear from staff and the Pinellas teachers’ union, PCTA, about ways to help.

“I continue to challenge staff, I continue to challenge PCTA, I continue to challenge all of us to come to the table with solutions, to figure out what and how we can work this to improve every day,” said Grego.

Another meeting is scheduled with the teachers’ union Sept. 14 to work on solutions.

Manatee County School District officials have launched a COVID-19 dashboard-style online data center to provide more details to the public about incidents of COVID-19 infections in individual schools in the district.

The Herald Tribune reports the dashboard includes numbers of confirmed cases of the virus at schools and support sites going back to the first day of classes, Aug. 17.

The dashboard does not include the numbers of people being required to self-quarantine after an exposure, but district officials say that information will be available on request.

Last week, more than 100 students at Palmetto High School were sent into a two-week self-isolation after being exposed at school.

A high school in central Florida is shutting down its brick-and-mortar campus for two weeks after experiencing six confirmed cases and one suspected case of the coronavirus.

The AP reports, officials with the Orange County School District say Olympia High School will be closed to students until September 21, and that all students will take classes online. A Health official in Orange County says at least 13 students of the school had attended a birthday party together in late August.

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Kerry Sheridan is a reporter and co-host of All Things Considered at WUSF Public Media.