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COVID-19

  • 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.
  • Starting Monday, August 2nd, Sarasota Memorial Hospital will institute a "no visitors" policy with limited exceptions in an effort to protect patients and staff from rising cases of COVID-19.
  • Amid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections and with the start of a new school year just weeks away, Governor Ron DeSantis, Friday, announced plans to sign an executive order barring schools in Florida from imposing mask mandates.
  • 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.
  • As a surge in new COVID-19 infections is leading to increased hospitalizations, heath systems in Southwest Florida are re-imposing restrictions on hospital visitation.
  • The current spike in COVID-19 related hospitalizations is being driven by unvaccinated people who are sicker and younger than earlier in the pandemic, according to hospital officials.
  • Florida has emerged as a hotspot in the current resurgence of COVID-19 infections across the country. According to the White House nearly one in five new cases nationwide, last week, were diagnosed in Florida.The increase in infections is putting a strain on local hospital systems and raising concerns among public health experts as a new school year is about to begin and public school districts are dropping mask mandates under pressure from parents and government officials.
  • We are all connected by the environment we share. The Earth is our home. This is the space where we share the environmental stories that caught our attention this week in Florida and beyond.
  • The United States is in the midst of a COVID-19 surge and according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, its largely being driven by the Delta variant, which is responsible for about eight of every 10 new cases. More than one in five of these new cases have been diagnosed in Florida. We explore what local hospitals are experiencing and the role public policy in Florida may be playing in the current surge.
  • Mask-wearing in Sarasota County District schools will be optional for the 2021-2022 school year. The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports, school board members voted unanimously, Tuesday, to adopt a new policy making it clear that mask wearing would be optional for students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.