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Stephanie Colombini

Stephanie Colombini joined WUSF Public Media in December 2016 as Producer of Florida Matters,WUSF’s public affairs show. She’s also a reporter for WUSF’s Health News Florida project.

Stephanie was born and raised just outside New York City. She graduated from Fordham University in the Bronx, where she got her start in radio at NPR member station WFUV in 2012. In addition to reporting and anchoring, Stephanie helped launch the news department’s first podcast series, Issues Tank.

Prior to joining the WUSF family, Stephanie spent a year reporting for CBS Radio’s flagship station WCBS Newsradio 880 in Manhattan. Her assignments included breaking news stories such as the 2016 bombings in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and Seaside Park, NJ and political campaigns. As part of her job there, she was forced to – and survived – a night of reporting on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

Her work in feature reporting and podcast production has earned her awards from the Public Radio News Directors, Inc. and the Alliance for Women in Media.

While off-the-clock, you might catch Stephanie at a rock concert, on a fishing boat or anywhere that serves delicious food.

  • Nursing shortages were already a problem, but the COVID-19 pandemic and population growth are making things worse.
  • Records now show the state actually crossed the 50,000 death threshold on Sept. 5, but the count didn't reflect that until Sept. 16 due to delays in processing the information.
  • Over the weekend, the nationwide COVID-19 surge surpassed 100,000 new confirmed daily infections. The AP reports, that milestone was last exceeded during the surge this past winter. The current resurgence is being driven by the more transmissible Delta variant and lower vaccination rates in Florida and other Southern states. Florida accounts for one in five new COVID-19 infections nationwide, which is more than any other state. The Tallahassee Democrat reports, the state broke another record for most reported new cases in a single day with 23,903 cases reported Friday, according to the CDC.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported, Saturday, that there were 13,750 COVID-19 patients in Florida hospitals, marking another record high.Florida’s State Board of Education approved two emergency rules related to the ongoing pandemic, further riling up worried parents who are preparing to send their kids back to school classrooms this month. The first rule involves how students will be counted for attendance: kids who must quarantine due to coronavirus exposure or infection will be counted present if they have to learn at home. The second rule now in effect would allow students who are bullied over COVID to transfer to other schools using the state’s HOPE scholarship voucherStudents in K-12 schools throughout Southwest Florida return to the classroom Tuesday, Aug. 10, including in the Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota County school districts. In Lee County, officials announced over the weekend that there will be a mask mandate. Parents who want to opt their kids out of mask wearing can do so by filling out a form that the district said it will make available by Monday evening.Private Catholic school students within the Diocese of Venice in Southwest Florida return to the classroom Monday, Aug. 9, and many parents are expressing anger over a last-minute decision to impose a mandatory mask policyA federal judge, Sunday night, granted the Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line's request to temporarily block a Florida law that bars businesses and government entities from requiring proof of vaccination status.The AP reports, the judge granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by Norwegian, as the company seeks to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination status of passengers before they board a ship.Florida hospital leaders and Gov. Ron DeSantis are urging more people to take advantage of monoclonal antibodies, a COVID-19 treatment that is proving to be very effective at preventing serious illness.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently expanded its emergency use authorization for the therapy.
  • Florida added 20,133 cases Thursday, an increase over the last three days, continuing an upward surge from COVID-19.Statewide, another 400 patients were hospitalized in the last day, continuing a record-breaking surge of patients. Currently, more than 12,888 people are hospitalized statewide – and nearly 2,600 are in the intensive care unit.The State Board of Education is set to review a proposed policy, Aug. 6, that would allow for Hope Scholarship vouchers to be made available to students in public school districts with mask mandates, whose parents don't want their kids wearing masks in the classroom.Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is now asking the federal government for additional school funding that could offset lost state dollars to districts that defy Gov. DeSantis’ executive order barring them from mandating masks.Lee Health and Sarasota Memorial Hospital officials say elective surgeries are being postponed in order to redirect staff and other resources amid the ongoing surge in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings heads to court Aug. 6. The Miami-based company is requesting that a federal judge overturn Florida’s ban on vaccine passports.President Joe Biden said he’s buying struggling renters time with a new eviction moratorium that might not pass Constitutional muster. The new, more focused order only extends to areas of high COVID transmission. That includes all of Florida.
  • More Floridians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any point in the pandemic: more than 12,400 patients across the sunshine state.Hospital systems in Southwest Florida continue to report increases in COVID-19 patient hospitalizations and the Florida Hospital Association reports, 60 percent of Florida’s hospitals say they will have a critical staff shortage in the next week.Broward, Duval and Alachua County School District officials plan to have mask mandates when schools reopen this month, in defiance of an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis barring schools from imposing masking rules.Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state does not plan on reopening coronavirus testing sites despite the current surge in cases.
  • Hillsborough County announced it will open two temporary locations to help meet the demand in tests.
  • Florida has added about 17,000 cases a day for the last three days. Hospitalizations now greatly exceed last year's peak.
  • On Saturday, Florida reported the highest single-day number of new COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic. On Sunday, Florida had the highest single-day number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic.Governor Ron DeSantis, Friday announced plans for a new executive order barring schools from requiring mask-wearing.Sarasota Memorial Hospital is no long allowing visitors and NCH announced Friday it will require all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 16.Manatee County officials announced another confirmed COVID-19 death among county staff. An outbreak in June forced the closure of the Manatee County Administration building.A nationwide moratorium on evictions that was put in place amid the pandemic expired Sunday, July 31, and the AP reports, Florida received $870 million in federal funds to help renters who've struggled to keep up with rent payments, but has only distributed 2% of that money.
  • With Florida at the epicenter of a nationwide resurgence of COVID-19 infections, some local governments are defying Republican Governor Ron DeSantis with new mask and vaccine mandates. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried plans to begin providing daily COVID-19 data to the media after the state switched to only providing weekly data in June. Lee Health and NCH hospitals report 600% and 800% increases in COVID-19 patients who are mostly unvaccinated. High levels of community spread and low vaccination rates are putting many nursing homes in Florida at risk for COVID-19 outbreaks. Some facilities are taking extra precautions.
  • The positivity rate for new cases was nearly four times as high as rates from last month as new cases surge and the pace of vaccination stalls.