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Tom Urban

Tom Urban is the Assignment Manager for .

  • State health officials reported 5,571 new COVID-19 cases and 83 deaths, Wednesday for a total of more than 2.1 million cases and more than 35,000 deaths statewide since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 8.2 million people in Florida have been vaccinated so far, including more than 2.9 million people who have received a first dose and more than 5.3 million who have completed the series.The University of South Florida is studying whether those with a history of allergies are more at risk for severe reactions from COVID-19 vaccines.The Florida Senate continues to consider a bill that would increase the cap on unemployment benefits from $275 a week to $375 a week, although Gov. Ron DeSantis has voiced opposition to the move.Sarasota Health officials are holding a pop-up vaccine clinic on Saturday for 16 and 17-year-olds.Sarasota is currently experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 infections and reduced vaccine demand.
  • State health officials reported 1,613 new COVID-19 cases and 35 deaths on Monday. So far, more than 7.2 million people in Florida have been vaccinated including more than 2.8 million who have received a first dose and more than 4.4 million people who have completed the series.Governor Ron DeSantis is railing against YouTube and Google and accusing the tech giant of censorship for removing a video of a COVID-19 discussion he had with scientists who oppose government lockdowns, school closures and mask wearing.Florida is suing the Biden administration and the CDC to let cruise ships sail again after being shut down for more than a year during the COVID-19 pandemic.The Florida Education Association is seeking clarity on recently adopted exemptions to testing requirements for this school year.Public school districts in Southwest Florida plan to scale back their distance learning options for students returning to school in the fall.A bill to make pandemic-induced expansions on the use of telemedicine permanent continues advancing in the state legislature.FEMA is now offering financial assistance to help cover the cost of funerals for those who have died of COVID-19.Lee County Commissioners stopped manning toll booths to collect bridge tolls on the outset of the pandemic and now they’re considering making that change permanent. They’re also considering a proposed increase in bridge tolls paid by motorists.A Florida woman was sentenced to 30 days in jail, last week, for deliberately coughing on a cancer patient during a dispute, last year, that was caught on a video that went viral.
  • State Health officials reported 3.406 new COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths Monday. Nearly 6.4 million people in Florida have been vaccinated including nearly 2.7 million who have received a first dose and nearly 3.7 million who have completed the series.As of Monday, all adults 18 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Sixteen and 17-year-olds also became eligible for the vaccine, Monday, but teenagers are restricted to the Pfizer version of the vaccine and must have parental consent.Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order, Friday, banning businesses from using vaccine passports to require people to prove they’ve been vaccinated in order to receive services.The Florida Legislature is taking up budget proposals this week and how to use Florida’s share of federal funds stemming from the American Rescue Plan remains a point of contention in budget negotiations.Lawmakers in the state House and Senate are considering several pieces of legislation to limit local-government emergency orders, create a personal-protective equipment stockpile and establish an Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund for use by the governor.Sarasota city commissioners are taking steps to reinstate a mandatory mask ordinance amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Florida is again seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations. The Florida Division of Emergency Management reports, Sunday’s positivity rate increased to 10.09%, which is the highest its been since Feb. 3.Governor Ron DeSantis vows to sign an executive order banning governments and businesses from requiring “vaccine passports.”State lawmakers are planning to reserve more than $300 million in funding for public schools, in case some of the nearly 90,000 students who didn’t enroll amid the ongoing pandemic come back to school in the fall.Florida’s unemployment rate continued to decline in February to 4.7%.Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody have threated to sue the federal government over the ongoing moratorium on cruise ship operations at U.S. ports, saying it’s hurting Florida’s economy.Former Cape Coral City Councilman John Carioscia died Sunday of complications from COVID-19. In his final months in office Carioscia supported an unsuccessful effort to adopt a mask mandate in the city.North Fort Myers business owner Casey David Crowther was convicted, Friday of COVID-19 relief funding fraud related to a $2 million PPP loan he was awarded last year.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis announced Thursday morning that starting Monday, March 29, vaccine eligibility will expand to people 40 and older and that the following Monday, April 5, vaccine eligibility will extend to anyone 18 and older. As of Wednesday morning, more than 5.2 million people in Florida have been vaccinated including more than 2.3 million people who have received a first dose, and more than 2.8 million who have completed the series.The CDC’s current moratorium on evictions is set to expire March 31, but experts say it will likely be extended.Florida House members are considering a wide-ranging bill aimed at helping Florida prepare for the next public health crisis. State lawmakers are also considering a measure that would make permanent Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order expanding the allowed use of telehealth services.
  • State health officials reported 4,599 new COVID-19 cases and 55 deaths, Wednesday for a total of more than 1.9 million infections and 33,120 deaths since the start of the pandemic. So far more than 4.4 million people in Florida have received a vaccine dose, including nearly 2.5 million people who have completed the vaccine series.Governor Ron DeSantis wants to use some of the money coming to Florida through the federal COVID-19 relief bill to provide $1,000 bonuses to firefighters, law enforcement officers and other first responders. He also wants $260 million to go to supporting Florida’s struggling seaports and $50 million to be allocated to the state’s tourism marketing arm Visit Florida to help revitalize the tourism industry.The Florida Senate is set to vote today on a bill protecting businesses and healthcare providers from pandemic-related litigation. A bill cracking down on COVID-19 vaccine-related fraud passed its first Senate committee this week.New CDC guidelines recommend that nursing home residents be allowed to see visitors in person.Two pediatricians in Boca Raton have published a study after a vaccinated woman with no history of COVID-19 gave birth to a baby with COVID-19 antibodies.A new report from a national COVID-19 commission reports a dramatic rise in domestic violence amid the pandemic.
  • State health officials reported 3,312 COVID-19 cases, Monday and 81 deaths. Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida’s vaccine eligibility will be expanded to any one 60 and older on March 15. Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried is criticizing DeSantis’ vaccine rollout, saying it should be easier for medically vulnerable people to prove they’re eligible. DeSantis is criticizing the $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package, saying it penalizes states like Florida where officials reopened the economy relatively quickly. DeSantis is calling on the federal government to revise its distribution model, arguing that money should be allocated on a per-capita basis. Elected officials and advocates in Palm Beach County say the state should prioritize vaccines for farmworkers.
  • Florida’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility is growing as Governor Ron DeSantis amended a previous executive order, Monday, to expand vaccine access to teachers, firefighters and law enforcement officers 50 and older. Younger people with medical conditions that would make them extremely vulnerable to the virus can also now get the vaccine through physicians’ offices and pharmacies. Previously that demographic’s access to the vaccine was limited to hospitals.Florida expects to receive 175,000 doses of the newly FDA-approved single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine this week.
  • State health officials reported 4,113 new COVID-19 cases Monday and 159 deaths, bringing the total number of infections to more than 1.8 million and bringing the death toll over the 30,000-fatality mark. Hospitals across Florida are experiencing a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations, mirroring a national trend.U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate after Gov. Ron DeSantis authorized a state-run pop-up vaccine clinic limited to residents of an affluent, mostly white and Republican community in Manatee County.Four federal mass vaccination sites are coming to Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa.The city of Sarasota voted, last week, to allow its current mask mandate to sunset on Thursday.
  • State health officials reported 7,537 COVID-19 cases Wednesday and 160 deaths. Despite warnings from health officials about the more contagious COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7, Gov. Ron DeSantis dismissed those concerns during a news conference at a new pop-up vaccine clinic in Venice. The new pop-up clinic increases vaccine access for residents in southern portions of Sarasota County. The City of Marco Island has a new vaccine registration system. Publix locations in Manatee and Sarasota Counties began administering vaccine doses this week. The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County is working to track coronavirus cases related to the Super Bowl and celebrations surrounding the game.